Seattle Teacher Contract Negotiations Update

 Update: Board Resolution

Resolution 2015/16-5: Addressing Imminent Strike
 For Introduction:Action- September 8, 2015


Because no tentative agreement has been reached, District staff are requesting that the School Board adopt Resolution 2015/16-5 to authorize the Superintendent to take certain actions to end the strike and protect District property and resources.

The District considers a strike or the concerted refusal to provide contracted for services to be unlawful. Such action causes irreparably harm and disrupts the education program of the District, students, families and others.

In the event a strike or work stoppage commences, the residents of the District and the school age children in the community will be injured through the actions of the Seattle Education Association. Immediate Action by the Board of Directors on Resolution No. 2015/16-5 is in the best interest of the District. 
Resolution (bold under numbered items mine):

A RESOLUTION of the Board of Directors of Seattle School District No. 1, King County, Washington to prescribe District responses to a strike or work stoppage by the Seattle Education Association and its bargaining unit members. 

WHEREAS, the Board of Directors of the Seattle School District No. 1 (“District”) has substantial grounds to believe a strike by the Seattle Education Association ("SEA") and employees represented by the SEA has been called or is imminent, and that SEA employees may not report for work on September 9, 2015, the agreed first student day of the 2015-2016 school year; and 

WHEREAS, it is unlawful in the State of Washington for teachers and other school employees to strike or otherwise refuse to perform their official duties; and 

WHEREAS, a strike for any reason by District teachers or other personnel is harmful and damaging to the District, our students, and our community; and 

WHEREAS, a strike is an emergency requiring the immediate action of the Board to reduce the irreparable injury to our students and to the educational process caused by the strike; now, therefore, 

1. Superintendent’s Authority. The Superintendent shall take the actions he deems appropriate to protect and serve the District’s interests during the duration of the strike. References to the Superintendent in this resolution shall mean the Superintendent and/or his lawful designee(s). 

2. School Closures and Work Schedules for Non-SEA Employees. During the period of a strike or work stoppage, the Superintendent is authorized to close any school or school facility. The closure shall continue during the emergency created by the strike until the Superintendent deems it in the interests of the District and its students to open some or all of the schools, and/or to take other actions to enable students to receive grades and credit toward progression in school and graduation. All full-time (year-round) employees will continue to work normal hours. 

3. Limitation of Access to School Facilities. Effective immediately, and for the duration of the strike, access to the public school grounds and public school buildings of the District shall be limited to police officers, deputy sheriffs and other officers of the law; employees and other agents of the District who are not withholding services and who are expected to report to work; students who are enrolled in the District or are in the process of being enrolled; parents or other persons escorting students to and from school; persons attending, coaching and participating in District athletic events and practices or other scheduled facility use activities in District facilities; other persons whose presence on school property or in a school building is deemed necessary,

desirable or permissible by the Superintendent; and other persons whose presence on school property may be authorized consistent with legal requirements. The Superintendent shall seek legal assistance from the proper authorities to have removed from District property any person whose presence is not authorized during the strike. 
  4. Temporary Employees. The Superintendent is authorized to temporarily employ off- duty Seattle Police Department or other security personnel, and other temporary staff, at rates of pay that the Superintendent deems reasonable, in accordance with any considerations of law, and to obtain by rental or purchase such additional facilities, equipment, supplies, and materials as he may deem necessary to protect District property (real and personal) and to ensure the safe operation of the District. 

5. Authorization of Legal Action. Subject to the direction of and consultation with the Superintendent, the law firm of Perkins Coie LLP is engaged, authorized and directed to take any and all lawful steps necessary to terminate any strike or concerted refusal to perform services by the nonsupervisory certificated staff of the Seattle School District, and is further authorized and directed to bring suit to enjoin such activity against any and all individual employees participating in a strike or concerted refusal to perform services, against any union, association, corporation, or conspiracy of or including such persons, and against other persons or organizations acting in concert with such organizations and/or persons; to recover a monetary judgment against any and all persons, associations, unions or other organizations participating in such activities to the extent of any damage suffered by the District; to seek enforcement by contempt citations, fines, and/or all other appropriate remedies of any orders or other relief granted; and to seek any other remedies and/or take any other action—whether equitable, legal, or administrative--which may be available to the District and/or its Board in relation to the strike or in relation to violation of the laws regarding collective bargaining. 

6. Continued Bargaining. Notwithstanding an unlawful SEA strike, the Board directs the Superintendent to continue to bargain in good faith with SEA over matters not yet resolved through negotiations, and to pursue with flexibility and reasonable patience the ongoing mediation process and other legal avenues for reaching a settlement. 

7. Suspension of Board of Directors Regular Meeting Schedule. The Board’s regular legislative meeting schedule is suspended until reinstated by the Board President. Currently scheduled board committee meetings will remain on the calendar, unless the committee chair cancels the board committee meeting with 24 hour notice after determining that staff resources need to be focused on collective bargaining and negotiations. 

8. Implementation of Resolution. The Superintendent and the administrative staff of the District are authorized and directed to take all steps necessary for the full and effective implementation of this resolution.
  end of update 

As of one hour ago, the SEA had sent SPS a counter-offer which the district is considering.

Meanwhile, Garfield teacher Jesse Hagopian is tweeting:

All educators just walked out of Garfield together, ready to walk the picket line on strike tomorrow!  

I'm thinking that was a show of unity IF a strike comes. 

The Board is to meet tonight to consider a resolution about possible legal action should the teachers strike.  The agenda has no link to the resolution (perhaps waiting until they know something) and the link will only be available when meeting starts.  (I'm not treking down to the district, on a Mariner game night, to get it.   So I'll link to it when the meeting starts at 5:30 p.m.)

I'm watching my Twitter feed for any more news.


Anonymous said…
Anyone out there have the direct link to watch the school board meeting live in a few minutes? I tried to make my way through the SPS site but got lost. Thanks!

Prosleep Mom said…
Here's the link:

(it's under District >School Board > View Board Meetings)
Parent, it won't be on until at least 6 pm as they will be in Ex. Session. I'll ask district about link.
seattle citizen said…
I'm looking at Channel 26 (Comcast - "educational access" channel) right now and they have a "hold" image up (with upbeat jazz!) showing "Seattle Public School Board of Directors Meeting September 8, 2015"
I imagine it will be broadcast shortly....6:00?
(All regular board meetings can be watched on this channel)
Anonymous said…
Just not getting the immediate harm here. Kids weren't in school today, and didn't seem to suffer any harm that I saw. Saw lots of them playing outside, for instance.

So that whole immediate irreparable harm thing in an injunction - not gonna prove that, I think.

Perkins Coie is way on the wrong side of this, too bad. It's a good firm. Who represents SEA if there's a hearing?

-- Math Counts
Anonymous said…
Thank you all for the link and information. No tv at our house, so have to watch on the internet.

If you are at home, it's channel 26, although again, the Executive Session is not televised so it may be 6 or just past until the Resolution is considered.

I'll be listening in particular to hear what Marty McLaren, a former teacher, will say and do.
In yet another update, The Slog is reporting that three City Council members are urging the Board not to block the strike.

Those members are Kshama Sawant, Nick Licata and John Okamoto.

Partial from the letter:
"We believe the SEA’s demands in these contract negotiations are reasonable, in the best interests of Seattle students and should be considered in good faith. However, regardless of one’s opinions on the union’s demands, the educators’ democratic right to speak out, organize unions, and go on strike must be defended.

We urge you to not follow the heavy-handed negotiating tactics previously employed by the district Superintendents in Pasco and Spokane. By using the courts to try to force teachers to abandon their strike, they are doing irreparable harm to education in their districts."

Update: the West Seattle blog is at the Board meeting and is reporting that the meeting is not likely to be open to the public until 6:25 pm.
Anonymous said…
Well, this gives the Directors the opportunity to make clear to Mr. Nyland that they support teachers, as they always say they do.

I'm tempted to brave the traffic for this meeting to see how the Board reacts.

Pay the teachers and let's get moving.

apple twister
Apple, that would be great but be warned, Mariners game tonight at 7.
Just tweeted:

To note; if the Seattle Scl Bd vote tonight on resolution to go after teachers if they strike is not unanimous, it's also a vote on Nyland.
Anonymous said…
OMG... A Strike Injunction !!!

So this looks like an explanation for why the SPS bargaining team was so indifferent to showing up on time to bargain.

Was it to hinder negotiations and produce a strike, to be followed by an injunction?

Sure looks like a possible plan to me. Business Round-table type thinking.

Bewildered Mind
School Board meeting underway now. 6:05 pm
WallingfordMom said…
It's the Mariners. The crowds are usually fairly sparse at Safeco Field in September.
Anonymous said…

If the Board votes to block the strike, what is the best way for parents to support our teachers? I mean, do we just bring our kids to school tomorrow like everything is okay? That doesn't sit well with me...

Sorry, they got started late and just started the meeting. Did the roll call and pledge and are NOW going into Executive Session until 6:25 pm.
Anonymous said…
Just tweeted:

To note; if the Seattle Scl Bd vote tonight on resolution to go after teachers if they strike is not unanimous, it's also a vote on Nyland.

Maybe NOT ... perhaps its not a vote on Nyland but rather a vote on the Overlords of the Oligarchs running and planning this show.

Bewildered Mind
The best way to support your teachers is to show up at school with signs. Invite the media. Join the Soup for Teachers Facebook group. Write to Nyland, the Board, the Times and The Stranger and tell them you support teachers. Ditto the Mayor and the City Council.

Tell your friends, neighbors and co-workers you support teachers.

Most of all, if anyone says, "why?" You should tell them your personal story of what is happening in your school because teachers are not supported and overloaded.
Anonymous said…
"WHEREAS, it is unlawful in the State of Washington for teachers and other school employees to strike or otherwise refuse to perform their official duties; and "

Even when without a contract ... welcome to servitude serfs.

Darth Vader will crush you.

Bewildered Mind
Watching in Bleachers said…
Marty is no longer just drinking the Kool-Aid but is serving it up as well. It is sad that someone who once seemed to show such adamant desire to "take back the house" now gives the keys away to it.

Bravo to Sue Peters!!! The only individual who showed any type of backbone or thought...
Rufus X said…
Resolution passes 5-1-1; Peters nay & Patu abstained.

Big shock (snort).
west side mom said…
Marty forgot who her constituents are long ago
Watching said…
"We urge you to not follow the heavy-handed negotiating tactics previously employed by the district Superintendents in Pasco and Spokane. By using the courts to try to force teachers to abandon their strike, they are doing irreparable harm to education in their districts."

Nyland rules with a heavy hand. Hale teachers wanted to boycott 11th grade SBAC exam because students had completed state required graduation requirements. Nyland threatened these individuals with loss of teaching certificate.

I'm disgusted.
Anonymous said…
Whatever respect I still had for McLaren as a Board member or educator is long gone. At least she can shortly add former board member to her resume.

Can we please get somebody decent in there? Sundquist & McLaren are both very nice people but both totally clueless about education (at least Sundquist hasnot been in the classroom yet, although he's a smart guy and actually I'd like to see him go teach for his 3rd career and stop the political career building as a 2nd career... I'd support him in a heartbeat in that... not sure McLaren could get an offer to teach by any Seattle school even if she wanted to go back in the classroom).

mirmac1 said…
Parents, make your position known. "My child will NOT be be irreparably harmed" BECAUSE...then spell out why you don't want your child in overcrowded classrooms, without the supports they need, with overworked and underpaid teachers, under a poorly-conceived longer day.

Spell it out for the judge and everyone else to SEE!
Anonymous said…
I was just speaking with my neighbor who is a Strike Captain for her school.

She told me that teachers and staff will picket at their individual schools Wednesday and Thursday from 8:30 am to 3 pm. As Friday is 9/11 there will be no picketing and teachers will participate in community service of their choice.

She mentioned afternoons would likely be the best time to stop by to voice/express your support.

Anonymous said…
Board is more split over Nyland than the educators/staff over Nyland's contract offer. Even if a dozen or so educators would have paper-voted against the strike out of financial fear or to be contrarian, clearly Nyland has now totally frustrated the the teachers and has cast doubt on his resume of being the uniter.

Seattle traffic is horrible and so I would have laughingly given him a pass on being late to the vote tonight if it wasn't for the fact that it just falls in line with the reports about the whole bargaining process.

I'd understand this resolution if, say, it dragged on 2-3 weeks. Although still no agreement 3 or 4 items were cleared up over the last week (versus none over the first 3 1/2 months), so at least now there's progress being made. This will just poison the well.

Anonymous said…
Per The Stranger, whether or not it is illegal for teachers to strike is not as cut & dries as that resolution is making it sound.

Mom of 4
Anonymous said…
Thanks for that link, Mom of 4. I am a little confused about why the district seems to be so confident that the strike is illegal when the law is unsettled on this issue. So what if one judge in that Pasco case issued a preliminary injunction? I don't really know anything about Franklin County, but I'm guessing the judges there might be more conservative on average than those in King County?

Anonymous said…
As an educator of students with disabilities, I want to thank you all for your support. I truly believe, wholeheartedly, that the union has negotiated for the benefit of our children. While some might argue that this is just about pay, I can say that if this was the case I would not have felt comfortable striking. Yes, I believe that I deserve fair compensation. However, I am willing to accept that I provide a social service and that in a capital economy this does not equate to a $$$. I am okay with this; I fulfillment that I get from my work does not need to be reflected in my paycheck. I LOVE what I do. I am passionate about my work. Not many get to say this. That said, these negotiations, for me are about securing that passion and ensuring that I can do my job to the best if my abilities & that studebts receive the services, supports, and equity that they deserve. This contract is about securing OUR future & I thank you for your support-- it mWANs si much. Without your support there is no movement, no change. THANK YOU

Team player
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