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Washington State Teachers' Unions End—and Begin—Strikes

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Teachers in Seattle and in one other Washington state district ended their strikes last week, while the union in another district there walked out.

After winning a 9.5 percent pay raise over three years, mandatory 30-minute recesses for elementary students, a longer school day, and more say over standardized tests, Seattle teachers ended their weeklong labor action. The union's full membership was scheduled to vote on the contract Sept. 20.

Teacher salaries in Seattle range now from about $44,000 to more than $86,000.

Teachers, substitutes, and support staff complained that the city's high-paid technology industry had priced them out of living in the city where they teach, especially given that they had gone six years without a cost-of-living increase. The Seattle City Council also threw its support behind the striking educators.

This year, facing a court order to increase spending on education, state lawmakers came up with money for new teachers and supplies.

Elsewhere in the state, teachers in Pasco voted overwhelmingly last week to approve a contract agreement and end their two-week strike.

It's a two-year deal with raises of 4.25 percent and 4.45 percent, in addition to raises passed by the legislature.

A superior-court judge had ordered the Pasco teachers to return to work, but the union remained on strike, and the judge levied an $8,000 fine.

Meanwhile, teachers in Kelso, Wash., walked out last week after last-minute talks with district officials over pay and other issues failed.

Vol. 35, Issue 05, Page 4

Published in Print: September 23, 2015, as Washington State Teachers' Unions End—and Begin—Strikes
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