Washington Teachers Are Ready for a Strike
SEATTLE – August 23, 2018
Teachers and school staff from the state of Washington are ready to strike, local media reports. The strike will take place in Longview.
The strike will start on Thursday morning after decisively rejecting the district’s offer for a 6.9 percent average pay raise. About 93 percent of union members present voted to strike during a Wednesday evening meeting at which union leaders reviewed the district’s offer. About 345 of the 430 union members attended, according to union officials.
“We are going in with the idea that they were done negotiating and didn’t meet us at what our membership wanted,” said Jerry Forsman, treasurer and bargaining support team member for the Longview Education Association.
The district Tuesday bumped its pay raise offer for faculty to an average 6.9 percent, up from 4 percent earlier, according to the district and union negotiators. The raises range between 6.15 percent and 8.82 percent depending on a teacher’s experience and education level, said school district spokesman Rick Parrish.
The union had recently reduced its salary request to 11 percent, down from 12 percent. “The district is disappointed the offer was not accepted. The offer would have continued to make our teachers the highest paid in Cowlitz County,” Parrish said Wednesday night.
Important to mention, teachers received an 8 percent average increase in base pay last year. Combined with the district’s Tuesday offer, teachers would get a base pay increase a 14 percent to 16.8 percent salary increase over two years, Parrish noted.
The LEA’s stated goal is to make its members the highest paid teachers in the county. The strike vote came about a week after the district projected it will start running budget deficits during the three years from 2019-2022.
The Longview strike is an important case, it can serve to encourage workers of various professions from all over the U.S. to fight for their rights, and let the government know a lot of people aren’t satisfied with their work conditions.