FOLLOWUP: Seattle Education Association to vote on strike authorization

The Seattle Public Schools educators’ union just announced its members decided tonight to vote on authorizing a strike. The Seattle Education Association‘s board already approved a vote and then tonight the membership “agreed decisively” to do it, according to a statement just sent by the union. SEA president Jennifer Matter is also quoted as saying, “No educator wants to strike but we know educator burnout and being unable to meet student needs are larger problems that SPS must urgently address. SPS can come to agreement with us at any time and has chosen to force us on this path.” SEA says the strike authorization vote will be taken online tomorrow through Sunday and that they’ll announce results Tuesday morning. In the meantime, members “will continue reporting to work.” The union says support for special and multilingual education is a major sticking point, and the most-recent district statement ackknowledges those issues “have caused a delay in progress.”

36 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Seattle Education Association to vote on strike authorization"

  • wsres September 1, 2022 (6:02 am)

    The district needs to meet the teachers union on the special ed caseload language to get the union to agree. When special ed students do not have classroom support it can affect every student in the classroom because then the classroom teacher is focusing more of their attention on a few students instead of the whole class. My student’s special education teacher has helped my child a lot and made him feel like he can achieve and belong. After talking with some teachers, the Special ed caseload language seems to be a big sticking point for them.

  • Carla Mendoza September 1, 2022 (8:00 am)

    Chezzzz!what’s next ? I have NOT been impressed with the Seattle schools since I moved here with my family 4 years ago. 

  • Quiz September 1, 2022 (8:11 am)

    SMH. Read the room, teachers.

    • WestSeattleBadTakes September 1, 2022 (12:12 pm)

      Yes, forced labor now!

      • Quiz September 2, 2022 (7:45 am)

        Going from, “read the room” to, “forced labor now!” might be slightly hyperbolic. 

    • G September 2, 2022 (5:20 pm)

      Yeah, how dare they demand support for special ed programs?  Surely no one could foresee problems with abandoning special ed programs and offloading special needs students into classrooms without support.

  • Alki mom September 1, 2022 (8:49 am)

    Any information if the strike is approved if it will delay the start of the school  year – set to start on Wednesday? It is so unfortunate for this to come down to the day before school starts. The district needs to support the teachers. No wonder so many families have moved to private schools …. 

    • Josh September 1, 2022 (4:57 pm)

      Most families who moved to private schools moved to avoid extreme and unnecessary stances that SEA takes like refusing a real return to in person 2 years ago once vaccines were widely available and still demanding to have authority over the DOH for air quality.  It seems the special Ed situation should have been left alone by the district but then the teachers would have to agree to a slightly lower wage to maintain funding for special Ed at current levels and we can all guess how likely they are to do that….The flee to private is completely an effort to avoid overreaching SEA, now there is less money due to that and SEA still demands cake.Both sides are to blame but mostly SEA, and both sides will get what they want in the end while working families and kids who can’t afford to flee suffer.

      • WS Res September 1, 2022 (5:55 pm)

        We haven’t even had vaccines for two years.  They became available on a limited basis in January/February 2021, and not available to school-aged children for a long time after. 12+ wasn’t even authorized for vaccines until May 2021.  Your sense of grievance that teachers weren’t willing to risk death for your child care needs is distorting your perceptions.  And how dare you suggest that teachers should take lower wages in order to provide federally mandated services?

      • teacher September 1, 2022 (8:42 pm)

        If you really think it is mostly SEA’s fault, you must not work for SPS. I have been a teacher for 28 years and have worked in 3 other districts and this one is managed poorly (although I will say it has improved some in the 12 years I have worked here), and district employees do not try to partner with teachers or ask our expertise about anything. Just look at how many district required assessments they are mandating we to give our students this year in Elementary and that will show you how they do not understand how classroom based assessments are more relevant to us than the MAP test. The Special Ed caseload language is an issue that could affect all students in an inclusion setting and we want all our students to be able to succeed and we need the staffing for that to happen.

  • Mrs. Myrtle September 1, 2022 (9:01 am)

    This annual drama just forces more families to go Private and further decreases public school enrollment numbers. Every year I’m left wondering, “what were they doing all summer?” 

    • WS Res September 1, 2022 (4:51 pm)

      The district was ignoring teachers’ requests to bargain in good faith.  You act like teachers are the ones playing at brinksmanship – how about the responsibility of the district?

  • WS4life September 1, 2022 (10:15 am)

    Pretty ignorant comments above, maybe go volunteer at a school so you can see first hand what’s happening.

    • Flo B September 1, 2022 (10:39 am)

      ws4life. AMEN. It’s amazing to read the comments from parents who are CLUELESS as to what teachers have to deal with.  I dare them to spend a full week all day long in school.  As far as private. Is that really a guarantee of a better education than public?

      • Fj September 1, 2022 (11:48 am)

        Maybe private isn’t better, but it’s certainly more consistent. 

      • Mrs. Myrtle September 1, 2022 (11:53 am)

        Every year I experience a pretty significant increase in my property taxes, and decreased services for my kids in school. I do volunteer in my kids school and am very aware of the condition teachers have to deal with. I support the teachers.  It’s a bunch of bureaucracy, politics, and nonsense that create this every single summer DAYS before school starts. Just two weeks ago we received a email from the district that there was no talk of strike and yet here we are again. Many other organizations deal with issues as well surrounding employee compensation and contracts. However, they figure it out. Teachers unions don’t get a free pass just because it involves teachers. Figure it out! It’s OK for us parents to be upset and expect more. Just because I find all of this unacceptable doesn’t make me anti-teachers. I’ve volunteered in my school for a week and helps form my opinion. I’d challenge you to spend a week in my job or those of countless other parents in West Seattle that deal with some crazy stuff. 

      • Josh September 1, 2022 (5:02 pm)

        I volunteered last year when allowed and encountered a sub because my kids teacher called out 1 out of 5 days all last year because of things like having a pulled hamstring taking advantage of their union protection and missing work constantly for BS.  I wish we could afford private school tuition.  SEA is out of control.I am a RN by trade and find it cute to hear how bad teachers have it because of the pandemic. Some of us complain too but we still show up to work to do our part on behalf of the greater good. 

        • teacher September 1, 2022 (8:48 pm)

          Interesting, beacsue RNs have been striking and demanding higher pay and better work conditions recently too. Are you a travelling nurse? You can make almost double by being a travelling nurse. Your job is 100% a difficult job. I am sorry you had a bad experience, but many of us teachers are working our butts off to give kids the best educational experience we can.  I can tell you one (or more) bad experiences I have had with a nurse too. Are all nurses bad because of that one experience?

        • Brian September 2, 2022 (7:30 am)

          Just because healthcare workers have it bad doesn’t mean that teachers should also have it bad. That’s crab bucket mentality and it does no one any good. Do better. 

  • Westwood September 1, 2022 (10:21 am)

    Support the teachers, unions and bargaining is how pay and conditions are improved!

    Regarding the comments about switching to private schools – part of the strain of bargaining stems from lower enrollment numbers which directly correlates to less taxpayer money for Seattle public schools to hire more staff, pay adequate salaries, etc. Educators and the district have less to work with, which means more trade offs and more drawn out bargaining.

    My oldest in public and both my partner and I  work, so of course it sucks when we’re in this yearly limbo. But the answer is not giving more money to corporate and private wealth. Keeping your kids in public school is a direct investment in our community.

    • Mel September 1, 2022 (12:28 pm)

      It might be an investment in the community but parents have their individual children to think about. I want what’s best for my child and that’s not public schools in Seattle due to my child’s needs and me wanting to see them thrive. 

    • Antonio September 1, 2022 (1:26 pm)

      Westwood your last paragraph makes absolutely no sense. Your blanket statement equating private school education to corporate and private wealth is off the mark. Not all students who attend private schools come from wealthy families. Many are on scholarships and many attain financial assistance from the schools they attend. Conversely not all parents of private school students are wealthy, they chose at great financial sacrifice to send there kids private for a better education. Having had kids go through both public and private the differences are night and day. 

    • WS Res September 1, 2022 (4:52 pm)

      Hear, hear.  Well said.

    • Smoosh September 1, 2022 (5:03 pm)

      Tell that to SEA who is demanding more more more like they are negotiating with Bezos and not an elected school board funded by taxpayers.

      • wsres September 2, 2022 (2:54 pm)

        what are they asking for that is unreasonable?

  • Lesley September 1, 2022 (11:54 am)

    Thank you to the teachers and staff that are advocating for our children’s education. I fully support SEA and am forever grateful for your hard work and dedication to our children and our future. 

  • Wseattleite September 1, 2022 (2:22 pm)

    These are the organizations in charge of teaching our children?  They cannot behave like adults. There is no need not to have these issues agreed upon well before the school year begins.  Not advocating for either side, but this is completely sophomoric behavior designed to create drama, and inadvertently cause angst to the children and parents. Come on. Do better. 

  • Alkilocal September 1, 2022 (6:33 pm)

    So we are supposed to not go to work Wednesday because I made plans based on the published school schedule? And whose bright educated idea was it to vote and call a strike potentially the day before school starts? So disregarding and disrespectful of where the money comes from…us.  I’m an RN, whose been through a strike and this is union posturing to play hardball to get what they want. The union debacle is hard on the teachers (who want to go back but forced to vote a certain way) but mostly the families and kids! These families and kids have been through too much! I saw teachers teaching remote classes while on vacation, calling in sick when their not. I’d take a teacher workflow and schedule over an RN’s any day.   Let’s support our KIDS.    

    • wsres September 1, 2022 (8:53 pm)

      Or is the district holding out until the last minute which causes the union to press them? The district is not innocent in this negotiation process. SEA began bargaining requests months ago. It would be good to see the actual schedule of bargaining meetings.

  • Math Teacher September 1, 2022 (11:15 pm)

    <<And whose bright educated idea was it to vote and call a strike potentially the day before school starts?>>    You know, they have been bargaining all summer. Yes, they have waited till the last minute to call a strike. That’s because they were busy bargaining, hoping to reach an agreement. It’s always been public information that the existing contract would expire 8/31.

     <<hard on the teachers (who want to go back but forced to vote a certain way)>>  What??? Nobody is being forced to vote for a strike. The vote is happening online right now, from the privacy of teachers’ homes, and teachers are perfectly free to vote against a strike. If the strike vote passes, it wont be because anyone was ‘forced’ to vote for striking.
    <<There is no need not to have these issues agreed upon well before the school year begins>>   Well, the teachers’ bargaining team is mostly full time teachers who were not able to work on this until July, because they were busy teaching.  That’s usually not a problem, but it’s not like the bargaining team can or should go back retroactively and have started their bargaining work instead of teaching last spring. Again: teachers were teaching.

    • Zark00 September 2, 2022 (11:15 am)

      SEA had the offer on Aug 9th. They sat on it, did not respond, until almost the end of August. They know exactly how hard this is on families, they are counting on it. Don’t be fooled that SEA is not employing brinkmanship. If that’s what it takes that’s what it takes but everyone should understand this delay to the start of the year and the negative impact on students and families is 100% the creations of SEA. SPS sucks, they are a terrible org and treat teachers like garbage. They will not ‘do the right thing’ – ever. This is what it takes to get teachers the resources they need. But, SEA is absolutely holding West Seattle families hostage to get this deal done.

  • Less pay September 2, 2022 (9:32 am)

    I hope That those of you who have the  choice to send your kids to private school realize that teachers make much less money than public school teachers? Much less. The salaries are usually not comparable to public schools. Teachers in public schools can negotiate their salaries to be a living wage, based on their experience and education. 

    • Mel September 2, 2022 (5:52 pm)

      Are you suggesting we don’t send our kids to private school because of this?

  • zark00 September 2, 2022 (12:05 pm)

    SEA and SPS know exactly what they are doing. They are both playing games to pit Seattle families against SEA/SPS and against each other. Some transparency:  SEA received the last piece of the offer on Aug 9th, they did nothing, no response, until 5 days before the start of school. SPS knew that their offer would push a strike, they knew it when they drafted it, they sent it anyway. Neither SPS nor SEA are negotiating in good faith – not even close. Neither party is working for students or families, they are purposefully pitting us against each other hoping we’ll hate the ‘other’ side enough to point our outrage at them. SPS admin salaries are insane. We pay Superintendent Jones $335,000 a year, he is one of at least 10 SPS admins making over a 1/4 million a year. Average base pay for a teacher in SPS is $60k. Let that sink in – the people saying teachers only get a 5% raise not a 5.5% raise or whatever that sticking point is make 5X what a teacher makes.  Have SPS admins helped you or your student with anything, ever?  Has SPS every done anything benefitting your school or your student?  They killed advanced learning, destroyed HCC, demanded tests over teaching in a vain attempt to justify their bloated salaries. SPS let facilities crumble on their watch, failed to hit every milestone they have ever set, they genuinely suck at what they are supposed to do. I guess they hit one milestone, we paid Juneau to literally dismantle advanced learning opportunities at Seattle schools, and she did just that. Undermined education for a subset of Seattle students and crippled our public schools probably forever. If you need someone to blame here, blame the people making 5X what a teacher makes and doing literally nothing but making education, student and family lives worse in Seattle. 

  • Ms. Emerson September 6, 2022 (1:13 pm)

    As a past teacher of English and biology in public schools, as well as a mother of three kids who went through the public school IB Program (and then did well at Harvard or Yale before going to medical or dental school), I fully support Seattle public school teachers. Recent remote learning gave me a clear view of how hard Seattle teachers work and how effective most are with students whose parents put a high priority on education. Good teachers aren’t paid nearly enough. Public schools also provide a great many excellent extracurricular opportunities such as music and sports.  These are important practice for being a reliable team member, practicing self-discipline and good sportsmanship, and promoting a healthy life-style.  Strong public schools promote education of the masses, which is required for building a strong country.  Please support public school teachers!

  • Ms. Emerson September 6, 2022 (1:28 pm)

    Good teachers aren’t paid nearly enough. The extra-curricular activities like sports and music in public schools can also  be huge advantages for students in learning the fun results of hard work, team effort, and self-discipline. Please support your public school teachers! Educating the masses is critical for building a strong country. 

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