Saturday, May 09, 2009

Labor Strife

The state legislature cut the funding for paid "Learning Improvement Day"s from two days to one. With that cut in funding, Seattle Public Schools apparently decided to eliminate the paid day for teachers, librarians, counselors and other certificated staff. That reduces their working year from 182 paid days to 181 paid days. Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson sent a letter to the affected staff about the reduction.

In their usual unfortunate communications style, the District communicated directly with the teachers on contract issues. They aren't supposed to do that. They are supposed to negotiate with the union, not individual teachers. In addition, the letter essentially threatened every teacher with the nonrenewal of their contract if they do not accept the reduction in the work year and the reduction in pay.

There are a number of disputed facts involved in this. The union says some things that the District denies and vice versa. Here are the information sources I have found:

An article in the Seattle Times

The letter to the teachers from the Superintendent

The state law referenced in the letter, RCW 28A.405.210

A press release from the District about the WEA press release

I don't have a link to the WEA press release about the letter.

Let me say this. If the District did not intend to negotiate contracts directly with individual teachers and did not intend to threaten the teachers with non-renewal of their contracts, then why did they even mention it in the letter?

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