SEA has 5,000 members, hasn't gone to strike since 1985. "I think we know where the vote's going tonight," Phyllis Campano, union VP, says.
District statement released tonight:
SEATTLE –Seattle Education Association (SEA) members have voted to authorize a strike tonight, potentially delaying the start of school. SEA members took the action after a collective bargaining agreement could not be reached between the union and the Seattle Public Schools (SPS).
SEA represents the district’s educators, substitutes, paraprofessionals, instructional assistants and office professionals. The current contract with SEA expired Tuesday. A vote to authorize a strike is not declaring a strike. The union is not allowed to declare a strike until 72 hours after the vote to authorize. Securing an agreeable contract for union members is highly important to both SPS and SEA.
SPS and SEA have a shared goal of providing a quality education for our 53,000 students. The district is optimistic an agreement can be reached, and those students can start their school year. A mediator will meet with both sides Friday to assist in the negotiation process and the district is hopeful that an agreement can be made to start school as scheduled, on September 9.
“Our goal is a contract which honors, respects and pays oureducators and provides more instructional time for all students, including those children who desperately need more time with outstanding teachers in order to succeed,” said Superintendent Larry Nyland. Seattle remains behind other districts statewide in the amount of daily instructional time for students, approximately six hours and ten minutes. SPS has proposed a 13% salary increase over three years for SEA members, including a state Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA). Since 2007, the district has increased salaries for teachers by 23%, exceeding the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) of 19% over the same time period.
The start of school could potentially be delayed. The district is working with the City of Seattle on child care options, including Seattle Parks and Recreation and the possibility of some SPS daycares remaining open. Athletics events will operate as scheduled, unless otherwise announced.