Seattle's unionized teachers, paraprofessionals, and school administrative workers are going on strike tomorrow, the first day of school. As many as 53,000 students—Seattle Public Schools' projected enrollment for this fall—could be affected by the outcome.
Phyllis Campano, vice president of the Seattle Education Association (SEA), announced the news at a special meeting of the Seattle School Board this evening. At the same meeting, the School Board voted to give Seattle Public Schools superintendent Larry Nyland the authority to attempt to end the strike, an option that allows Nyland to pursue legal action. One third of the Seattle city council wrote a letter to the School Board earlier today urging them not to move forward on the resolution, which now allows Nyland to attempt to obtain a court order to block the strike.
"We're done for the night. See you on the picket lines."
VP Sea Ed Assn #SPSStrike pic.twitter.com/5OigdAWHuu
— Joshua Trujillo (@joshtrujillo) September 9, 2015
Last week, SEA members voted to strike if a tentative agreement with the school district was not reached. SEA submitted a counter offer to Seattle Public Schools this afternoon, at which point the district tweeted that it was considering it.
Tomorrow's strike will be the union's first in 30 years. SEA—representing 5,000 members—has been fighting at the bargaining table over the last several months to address racial and social achievement gaps and disproportionate disciplining, to limit caseloads for educational staff associates (including counselors, psychologists, social workers, physical therapists, and speech language pathologists), to guarantee a minimum amount of time for recess (won in negotiations over the weekend), and to pay teachers fair wages without lengthening the school day as the school district has proposed. Read more about some of the issues here.