No classes for Seattle Public Schools again tomorrow, as reported in our all-day coverage of the first day of the Seattle Education Association‘s strike against SPS. In the past six hours, we’ve heard from representatives of both sides, and we recorded each one.
First – a 3 pm media briefing at SPS headquarters in SODO, during which district spokesperson Stacy Howard said “all indications” were that talks would resume tomorrow:
We mentioned a few other points toward the end of our morning/afternoon coverage. Howard was joined by two members of the district bargaining team, Jon Halfaker and Keven Wynkoop.
Second – near the start of the 7 pm 34th District Democrats meeting at the Hall at Fauntleroy, the union’s lead bargainer Phyllis Campano said the union was going to meet with mediators at 10 am tomorrow but had not heard from the district regarding resuming talks:
As you can hear in the clip, Campano also offered some backstory to how negotiations had played out pre-strike, saying the union told the district it wanted to be done by August 24th. She said this is her fourth turn as a negotiator and this is the “slowest” process in which she’s ever been involved. She characterized the district’s 5 pm Tuesday proposal as “pretty much the same proposal they had put on the table at 1 o’clock on the morning,” and that, she said, is why they decided to end talks for the day and declare the strike was on. But, she said, “All 40 members of our bargaining team are eager to get back and get this solved.”
We later asked district spokesperson Howard about the seeming discrepancy, via e-mail. Her response: “Our bargaining team members told me they were asked to report here in the morning. … But this goes with the pattern we explained earlier…we are there, have been around the clock available and the union on numerous occasions have either not showed, or walked out. So that’s why we said today that all indicators show talks should resume tomorrow. Because it wouldn’t be the first time they’ve refused to talk.” The union, meantime, has contended that the district was a no-show on multiple occasions along the way. We’ll see what happens tomorrow; the union says picketing will resume at all schools at 8:30 am (with an early round at Louisa Boren STEM K-8 in Delridge during morning-newscast hours).
SIDE NOTE #1: Later in the 34th DDs meeting, the group unanimously approved a resolution supporting the union (we’ll add a copy here when we get it), and a $500 contribution to the teachers’ strike fund.
SIDE NOTE #2: Some parents have wondered how the strike will affect the school-year calendar. The district has an extensive strike-related FAQ up here, and it ends with a section about “calendar concerns.”