Seattle Teachers Unanimously Vote to Strike: Just after 7:30 last night, Sydney reports, "a packed Benaroya Hall full of Seattle's teachers unanimously shouted, 'AYE!!!' on a motion to strike. There were no dissenting 'nays.' The Seattle teachers union will strike on the first day of school, September 9, if no tentative agreement is reached with the Seattle School Board. The vote at Benaroya Hall came after months of failed negotiations with the School Board. It's the first time Seattle Education Association (SEA) members—representing 5,000 teachers, nurses, psychologists, physical therapists, and administrative workers—have voted to strike in 30 years."
Why? Teachers and the district are haggling over pay, equity, recess, and special education caseloads. "To combat persistent achievement gaps along racial and social lines—as well as disproportionate disciplining—the union proposed creating 'equity teams' to study the issue and come up with solutions at 30 schools," Sydney writes. "The district offered equity pilots at just six schools, and only starting in the second year of the contract." Recess is an equity issue too. "Teachers say that shorter recesses often mean kids have to choose between play and eating, and the decrease in unstructured playtime can affects kids' ability to learn in the classroom."
Teachers Are on Strike on Whidbey Island Too: School there is set to start on Tuesday.
Spokane Teachers Have Avoided a Strike For Now: They reached a tentative agreement with Spokane Public Schools. "There will be a union meeting on Tuesday at Rogers High School at 8 p.m.," reports the Spokesman Review. "At that time the details of the agreement will be discussed, and voted on by union members, Rose said...If the agreement isn’t ratified teachers would start striking Wednesday at 7 a.m."
Two Groups Protested in Olympia In Response to the News that Two Unarmed Black Men Will be Charged, but the White Officer Who Shot Them Won't Be: One group of about 50 included "many wearing black bandanas" and holding signs reading “Stop lying Olympia” and “We want revenge," according to the Olympian. "Another group of about 300 set up a tent outside Last Word Books on Cherry Street. They wore tags that said 'Justice for Andre and Bryson,' 'listening' and 'It’s not about me.'"
Family of Unarmed Man Shot in Pasco Sues: "Attorney George Trejo Jr., of Yakima, filed the lawsuit Thursday on behalf of [the man's wife] Teresa DeJesus Meraz and her two young daughters," the AP reports. "The lawsuit names the city, the Pasco Police Department, the police chief and the three officers involved, among others. It seeks in excess of $25 million in damages."
Two Teenagers Were Shot in Everett: They were "practicing a dance for an upcoming Quinceañera celebration," KIRO reports. The 17-year-old suspected of shooting them is in custody after a standoff. Both victims are in the hospital, one in critical condition and one in satisfactory condition.
Space Needle Workers Will Protest During Bumbershoot on Labor Day: Space Needle workers will picket on Monday calling on their employer to add "subcontractor protections" to their contract. "Space Needle workers have organized and fought to make their jobs some of the best hospitality jobs in the city," says an announcement about the protest from UNITE HERE Local 8. "However, these advances could all be lost if management decides to bring in subcontractors. Under existing conditions, an outside contractor could cut wages and benefits and refuse to rehire long-time workers."
As the Economy Is Recovering, Take-Home Pay is Falling Most for Low-Wage Workers: Wages adjusted for inflation have fallen among the "the lowest-paid workers in sectors where hiring has been strong—home health care, food preparation and retailing—even though wages were already below average to begin with in those service industries," reports The New York Times. The numbers come from a new study from the National Employment Law Project. In the report, the NELP advocates for raising the minimum wage to $12 nationally, ensuring bargaining rights, and enforcing labor laws in order to address the disparities.
Working Washington Helps Uber Out with Its Seattle Video: In Uber's video, a driver fondly recounts driving Chase Jarvis to go get some coffee at Stumptown. "If he didn't remember fondly," Working Washington's added caption reads, "Uber might deactivate him." Working Washington is supporting Council Member Mike O'Brien effort to let Uber and Lyft drivers unionize. Shortly after O'Brien announced that, one of the drivers who stood with him was briefly deactivated from the system. He and the company dispute why that happened; he believes it was retaliation.
Trouble for the Capitol Hill Chamber? Executive Director Michael Wells is leaving after leading the organization for five years, reports Capitol Hill Seattle Blog. In the comments on that post, local business owner Dave Meinert wrote: "I will now have to reevaluate my membership, and future support for [business improvement area] expansion. Having a local chamber run by a local small business owner was great. Having the board of that chamber run by developers and reps from big corporations makes me want to bow out. Time for an alternative small business group focused on Pike Pine and our issues?"
Rich Smith Stomped a Mouse to Death in Our Office Yesterday: It was horrifying.
SPOG Really Does Not Want to Let SPD Fire Cynthia Whitlatch: Whitlatch is facing termination for her arrest of an elderly black man last year. Now, the Seattle Police Officers Guild says the Office of Professional Accountability, which reviews misconduct complaints, took too long to complete its investigation and therefore Whitlatch cannot be fired because of the OPA's investigation. Ansel explains and points out the ironies in SPOG's complaint.
I Went to the Park My Viaduct Campaign Kickoff Last Night: These are the people who want to save a little piece of the viaduct and then replace the rest of it with a park perched a new, smaller viaduct (they call it a "garden bridge"). That's despite a years-in-the-making plan from the city to get rid of the entire viaduct and revamp the waterfront. Backers of the project, particularly its leader Kate Martin, think I don't "grasp" it because I'm new to town. After hanging out with the dozen or so people who attended last night's event, I guess I still don't get it. One supporter, Roberta Winter, who described herself as a "freelance writer" and "the health policy maven" told me the city's plan "sucks a lot." In part, she's worried it doesn't have enough access for bikes and pedestrians. (For the record, others share that concern too.) "Basically all it is is a freakin' sidewalk next to a thoroughfare," she said. The waterfront should be welcoming to everyone, she told me, "not just the candy asses coming from the museum down to the sculpture park." Huh.
Also, Kate Martin Has a Cardboard Cutout of a Cop in the Park My Viaduct Campaign Office: She told me it's there to deter the "riff raff" outside. I promise you I am not making that up.
State Supreme Court Rules Against Backpage.com: "A divided Washington Supreme Court has ruled that the website Backpage.com can be sued in state court by three girls who claim it aided in their being 'bought and sold' as prostitutes," reports the Seattle Times. "The decision may be the first in the country to hold the website accountable for its content...Backpage.com had invoked the Communications Decency Act in defending its business, arguing that it does nothing more than host content posted by others and can’t be held liable in state court. The trial judge disagreed, however, and ruled against the website. Backpage.com and its parent company appealed, claiming the decision was unprecedented and wrong."
Kim Davis Is in Jail: Davis is the Rowan County, Kentucky, county clerk who's refusing to grant marriage licenses because she claims granting licenses to same-sex couples would infringe on her religious liberty. This morning, gay couples can get married in Rowan County.