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Washington Teachers Remain On Illegal Strike

From a cheering Associated Press:

Wash. teachers remain strike despite judge order

By DONNA GORDON BLANKINSHIP, Associated Press
September 15, 2011

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — Teachers in Washington state’s third-largest school district voted overwhelmingly Thursday to remain on strike, in defiance of a judge’s order that they return to work.

Some 93 percent of the nearly 1,600 teachers at the Tacoma Dome arena said they wanted to keep picketing.

The Tacoma School District teachers walked out Tuesday over issues including pay, class size and how job transfers are handled. A state judge issued an order Wednesday that they go back to class, but the teachers refused.

But what about the children?

Many students have joined the picket lines.

"Each time we have this vote, it gets stronger," said Tacoma Education Association President Andy Coons.

The 1,900 teachers had been working without a contract since school started Sept. 1. After weekend contract negotiations failed to result in an agreement, 87 percent of the union’s membership voted to walk out.

Classes were canceled for a third day and 28,000 students kept home. Representatives of the union and school district were meeting with a state mediator.

"We didn’t have enough teachers show up to run the school," said district spokesman Dan Voelpel from its headquarters, where a demonstration was held. Honking and cheering could be heard in the background. "We’re evaluating our options at this point." …

A 2006 state attorney general’s opinion said state and local public employees, including teachers, have no legally protected right to strike. But that opinion also noted state law lacks specific penalties for striking public employees.

Laws are for the little people. Not school teachers.

Still, what a great civics lesson for the kids, huh?

The district has argued in court that 19 different judges in Washington state have ruled teacher strikes illegal since 1976. The union argued that the court should not inject itself into the bargaining process, and also suggested an injunction only applies to union leaders…

In other words, the union’s position is ‘so what’?

Tacoma teachers earned an average salary of $63,793 during the last school year, according to the district. They are the best-paid teachers in Pierce County and about the fifth-highest paid among the state’s largest districts, behind teachers in Everett, Northshore, Seattle and Bellevue, according to state data.

That’s not bad pay for less than nine months work. Not to mention the benefits.

The Legislature included in its state budget a 1.9 percent cut in teacher pay, but left it up to school districts to figure out how to save that money.

Some districts have made cuts elsewhere, some have cut teacher pay, and others have worked out compromises with their local teachers’ union.

So that is really what this is all about. The Washington state legislature has decided to trim a ‘whopping’ 1.9% from teacher pay. And these teachers can’t face a 1.9% cut. So the kids have to suffer.

Funny, but they haven’t had to lay off teachers in Scott Walker’s Wisconsin. Why is that?

(Thanks to BillK for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, September 16th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

7 Responses to “Washington Teachers Remain On Illegal Strike”

  1. BillK says:

    Remember, their main concern is the children.

    From our friends at the Associated Press:

    Wash. teachers maintain strike despite judge order

    By Lori Obert

    TACOMA, Wash. (AP) – Teachers in Washington state’s third-largest school district voted overwhelmingly Thursday to remain on strike in defiance of a judge’s order that they return to work.

    Some 93 percent of the nearly 1,600 teachers gathered at the Tacoma Dome arena said they wanted to keep picketing.

    The Tacoma School District teachers walked out Tuesday over issues including pay, class size and how job transfers are handled. A state judge issued an order Wednesday that they go back to class, but the teachers refused.

    Many students have joined the picket lines and hundreds rallied in front of the Tacoma Dome before and during Thursday’s vote.
    Rebecca Jimenez, a senior at Foss High School, said she was hoping the teachers would continue their strike.

    I think it’s a good example to show. If you’re going to do something, stick with it. Don’t give up,” she said.

    Tacoma Education Association President Andy Coons said Thursday’s vote was a sign that teachers agree.

    “Each time we have this vote, it gets stronger,” Coons said.

    The contract issues being debated in Tacoma are echoed across the nation as school districts grapple with federally mandated school reform. The U.S. Department of Education wants every state and school district to update the way they evaluate teachers, and a weak economy has most states struggling to find enough money to pay teachers.

    In Tacoma, the school district announced within an hour of the union vote that school would be canceled for a fourth day on Friday. While 28,000 students stayed home Thursday, representatives of the union and school district met with a state mediator. …

    http://www.9news.com/news/world/219486/347/Wash-teachers-maintain-strike-despite-judge-order

    “I think it’s a good example to show. If you’re going to do something, stick with it. Don’t give up” said the student, and the teacher agreed.

    So let’s hope the School District sticks by their guns on the issue.

  2. Petronius says:

    “state law lacks specific penalties for striking public employees.”

    How about contempt of the court order?

    There seems to have been a break down of law and order in the State of Washington. The unions there are carving things up to suit themselves.

    Only last week 500 ILWU longshoremen stormed the port of Longview, WA, overpowered and imprisoned six security guards, damaged rail cars, and dumped grain. Policemen were assaulted by longshoremen armed with baseball bats and crowbars. There again no arrests were made.

    • sticks says:

      I live in the state of Washington and your right about a break down of law and order. It has been going on here for years. When our current governor was first placed into office by the Democrat party it was clearly obvious to anyone that the Democrats had blatanly stolen the election, but the Republicans were too pantywaist to do anything real about it. This sent a message in plain language to all the brown shirts (our state is full of them), you can violate the law, physically assault people (that happens here a lot) and get away with pretty much anything,even murder (ELF and ALF regularly spike trees, which can be deadly to loggers). The revolution is cooking here and since the pols are overwelmingly facist they sit back and show their approval by not doing anything.

  3. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Fire them.

  4. Papa Louie says:

    They’re defying a judges order. Don’t let this crisis go to waste, Tacoma. It’s a great opportunity to fire a bunch of deadwood and replace them with teachers who want to work. The students and the school district will both benefit. It’s a win-win situation, just like it was with the firing of the air traffic controllers who went out on an illegal strike in the 80’s.

    • Right of the People says:

      Not only fire them but have them arrested for contempt of court. Wouldn’t that be a valuable lesson for the kiddies to see that actions do have consequences?

      I’m sure the chillins are happy to stay home but someone should point out to the little darlings that these days WILL have to be made up at the end of the school year so they can get in their full 180 days of schoolin’. When the little darlings figure out that this is going to cut into their summer vacation they might change their little minds and tell the teachers to come back.

  5. Mithrandir says:

    Don’t expect the unionized police to lift a finger about this or any union-related issue. Scott Walker should have stripped away the police and fire unions as well, as evident by this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=HVE_rLjxnfU

    NO WONDER out of 100s of people dragged away at the Wisconsin Capitol building, harassing Republicans, no one was charged with a crime. Hmph…..imagine that!

    *P.S. Doesn’t it disturb any of you when the police start grabbing a megaphone and become politically active? “We’re not going to take this anymore!” People with a badge and a gun become partisan hacks? I wonder if that will carry-over into their job…..pulling over cars with Republican bumper stickers, throwing the book at their opposition…..NA! What am I talking about now?…..


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