September 10, 2015
By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Teachers in Seattle went on strike Sept. 9, the first day of school for the city’s 53,000 public-school students. The walkout came after the city school district offered the Seattle Education Association a counterproposal worth barely one-third of what the union had asked for two days before.
“We didn’t think it was a serious proposal,” said SEA vice-president Phyllis Campano, the union’s bargaining chair. The union, which represents 5,000 teachers and other school employees such as nurses, instructional assistants, and secretaries, is seeking a 16.8% pay increase over the next two years, to make up for six years without a cost-of-living increase. It also objects to the district plans to lengthen the school day by adding half an hour of class time in the 2017-18 year. The Seattle School Board has authorized the city’s schools superintendent to take legal action to end the strike. Teachers in the inland city of Pasco have defied a similar court order; they have been on strike for six days. Read more