Seattle School District officials and the Seattle teachers’ union failed to reach a new contract agreement this weekend. So, union leaders have decided to continue taking it out on the city’s working families and children, by continuing into the second week of its illegal strike.
Teachers’ union executives—once again—rejected the district’s latest pay hike offer. They are now demanding 4.75 percent raise the first year and a 5 percent raise in the second, in addition to a 4.7 percent COLA increase approved by the state over the next two years. The union demand is down from its previous position of a 15.3 percent pay increase over three years, which itself was lower than the original demand of a 21 percent pay increase over three years.
It may appear to onlookers as if teachers’ union executives are compromising their position and becoming more reasonable. But, reality quickly sets in when one considers that the union’s strategy was to start with a completely outrageous initial demand (21%), and then come down from that to appear rational. Additionally, consider the offer union executives just rejected.
The district did not release details of their new offer. However, during a news conference, district spokeswoman Stacy Howard handed out a chart that revealed just how much teachers’ salaries would rise should union executives accept the district’s latest offer. The Seattle Times,
“At the end of three years, a starting teacher’s salary would amount to $51,881 and a veteran teacher would make a maximum of $99,762.
“Those figures represent a 14 percent increase over three years, including contributions from both the district and the state.”
So, while teachers’ union executives are rejecting a 14 percent and then some pay hike, working families across Seattle are shelling out more money for child care and awaiting news of how much more of their hard-earned tax dollars union executives will demand before their children are allowed to finally start school. Given the circumstances, it’s about time the Seattle superintendent uses his authority to seek legal action to force teachers back to work.
Meanwhile, in Pasco, the school district reached a tentative contract agreement with the local teachers’ union on Sunday. Schools are expected to open Tuesday. The sudden end to the illegal strike was probably brought about by the fact that, on Friday, Franklin County Superior Court Judge Alex Ekstrom fined the union $8,000 and said individual leaders could also face fines for illegally keeping kids out of school for weeks.
That appears to be the type of motivation that Seattle union leaders need to get their members back to work, and kids back to school.