According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a child in Washington State is at a “proportionately greater risk of missing school due to a union walk-out here than in any other state.” Illegal teacher union-led strikes have become a standard expectation for the start of the school year, disrupting working families and negatively impacting children. Here’s a list of strikes called by union officials over the past few years (via the Washington Policy Center):
- Fall 2015 – Union executives in Seattle say they are prepared to call a strike to get a 21% increase.
(Current average annual teacher pay and benefits is $88,849.)
- Fall 2015 – In Pasco the union leaders say they plan to close schools unless they receive an 11% increase.
(Current average annual teacher pay and benefits is $77,754.)
- April and May 2015 – Union calls for rolling one-day strikes across the state, affecting 65 districts and closing schools to 573,005 students, 56% of Washington’s students.
- Fall 2013 – Threatened union strike in Seattle, disrupting 50,000 students.
- Fall 2013 – Threatened union strike in South Kitsap, disrupting 9,000 students.
(Current average annual teacher pay and benefits is $84,046.)
- Fall 2013 – Threatened union strike in Snoqualmie Valley, disrupting 6,000 students.
(Current average annual teacher pay and benefits is $85,678.)
- Fall 2013 – Union strike in Tacoma, closing schools to 30,000 students.
(Current average annual teacher pay and benefits is $83,099.)
- Fall 2011 – Union strike in Bellingham, closing schools to 10,000 students.
(Current average annual teacher pay and benefits is $90,383.)
- Fall 2009 – Union strike in Kent, closing schools to 26,000 students.
(Current average annual teacher pay and benefits is $93,975.)
- Fall 2008 – Union strike in Bellevue, closing schools to 16,000 students.
(Current average annual teacher pay and benefits is $76,843.)
- Fall 2003 – Union strike in Marysville, closing schools to 11,000 students.
(Current average annual teacher pay and benefits is $98,563.)
This year, it appears to be the Pasco and Seattle school districts’ turn to strike, keeping thousands of children from starting school on time. Much of the teachers unions’ demands in both school districts include pay raises. Considering the demands, it’s relevant to take a look at just how much teachers currently make. The Washington Policy Center,
“Average teacher compensation statewide is just over $83,000 in pay and benefits for a ten-month work year, as reported by the state Superintendent of Public Instruction. This amount is scheduled to increase. The current state budget fully funds a pay raise for all teachers in each of the next two years.
“As one comparison, average worker income in Washington is $52,540 for a 12-month year. Most working families do not know whether they will receive a raise this year, let alone what they might receive over two years.
Teachers should be well paid—few would dispute that point. Their work is essential to children’s futures and, by extension, our communities. But, the harm strikes do to students is exactly why they are illegal under state law. The Washington Policy Center,
“This is why union strikes are so hurtful to communities, families and children. People work hard to pay their taxes and support local schools. When union executives continually ask for more, and seek leverage in contract talks by shutting kids out of school, it weakens the bonds of community that should draw people together…
“With the funding increases just enacted by the legislature, and the scheduled pay raises in the pipeline, the community is already working to boost teacher pay, even as many teachers make more than the average working family income in their area.
“The public money is already there. Union executives do not need to disrupt the lives of thousands of students and their families to get teacher pay increases.”
As Shift reported, the Pasco School Board has taken action in anticipation of a possible illegal strike by the Pasco teachers’ union. The school board has approved a resolution that would “ban striking workers from school grounds and give the superintendent authority to pursue legal action if a strike happens.” Negotiations between the Seattle teachers’ union and the school district are ongoing.
Shift will keep you updated on what have become hostage situations in both districts.
Woohoo! We’re #1! Thanks, Unions.
It’s all about the kids, right? What does it take for a teacher involved in illegal strikes to do their job? $100k a year? $150k? No, my property taxes go up damn near yearly for more teacher pay, it’s about time they either get proficient, or start taking pay cuts down to what the test scores warrant. A district shouldn’t be paying 70k+ a year of taxpayer money for teachers that fail, period.
When union executives continually ask for more, and seek leverage in contract talks by shutting kids out of school, it weakens the bonds of community that should draw people together…
Is it not time again to start jailing these strike leaders?
To me, the reason they are doing this, is to upset the budget because the budget covers the McCleary Decision. The better way of doing these contracts is to let them expire before going into negotiations. Reason behind this is, when there is no contract and a union leads a strike, exactly what are they striking for? There is no contract; therefore, the hiring process can begin and those who refuse to go to work as an educator, will lose everything they had built up as a public employee.
Every negotiated contract, needs to be negotiated in public, in front of the taxpayer and let the taxpayer be the deciding authority. Education has never been about the children. It has been all about bilking the taxpayer. Some school districts have budgets in the range of $100M. Union leaders see that as school money; not taxpayer money.
They do not even want I-1366 to work like it supposedly intended to. They do not care about smaller class sizes, when all they care about is how much they can bilk out of the taxpayer.