SCHOOLS: Seattle Education Association plans demonstrations, strike-authorization vote as contract expires Wednesday

Seattle Public Schools classes are scheduled to start one week from tomorrow – if the district and its teachers union, the Seattle Education Association, reach a contract deal. The current contract expires tomorrow, and that’s also when the union is having a general membership meeting – online – to discuss a strike-authorization vote. The SEA says its board has approved that vote and, according to a statement from SEA president Jennifer Matter, “we expect secure online voting will take place over the weekend.” The two sides are still negotiating. In the meantime, tomorrow morning they’re planning “sign waving, demonstrating, and other actions in front of school buildings” before their workday begins. The union says this one-sheet compares the two sides’ positions, with special- and multilingual-education support atop the priorities. For its part, the district published this statement today. The last SEA strike was in 2015.

28 Replies to "SCHOOLS: Seattle Education Association plans demonstrations, strike-authorization vote as contract expires Wednesday"

  • mom August 30, 2022 (10:49 pm)

    As a parent of 2 Special Ed students, it concerns me that the district does not want to define caseload limits for the Special Ed teachers. The district always errors on the side of less support (more students per teacher) because it costs them money. 

    • HPE family August 31, 2022 (6:24 am)

      Agree 120%

    • Jimmy August 31, 2022 (9:28 am)

      I know someone who worked in a different school district and had a case load of over 40 special education students as a resource special education teacher and only one full time adult aide. Try doing special education paper work on 40 students plus meetings with concerning Students who might qualify for special education and meeting with parents and staff meeting.  This teacher finally got the extra aide that by contract that they were promised in October in the month of March! 

      • wsteacher August 31, 2022 (9:23 pm)

        I am an SPS elementary sped teacher and this year I ended with 27 students on my caseload and 3 years ago I had 30.  I filed a grievance this year when my contract on my caseload as not followed and the district did not follow the contract for an entire trimester.

  • Mike August 31, 2022 (2:22 am)

    We need laws that require the union and district to finalize a contract in July each year.  This holding kids education hostage because adults can’t be professional needs to stop.  Grow up 

    • teacher August 31, 2022 (9:27 pm)

      I agree. The union started the bargaining in the Spring and the district waits until the end of the summer to get serious about the bargaining. 

  • Sasquatch August 31, 2022 (7:47 am)

    While fully supporting the needs of teachers, a strike would be selfish. We do all this talk in education about closing the achievement gap for students furthest from educational justice and the strike does nothing to close that gap. It just makes it wider. Furthermore students who are at home being unsupervised don’t do well in school and that will just extend the time that they are unsupervised. Especially with the pandemic ending and current mental health crisis, It is a bad idea for us to strike.

    • WS Resident August 31, 2022 (11:25 am)

      You can’t have it both ways.  There is nothing selfish about it.  SPS needs to pay the teachers appropriately  and give them the support they need.  The teachers have been taken advantage of and I support them 100%.

      • Josh August 31, 2022 (2:21 pm)

        What if there just isn’t enough money to pay the teachers what they demand and keep the same limits on class sizes? What is the board and the community to do?  Why must SEA hold the education of the vast majority of the students over our heads so they can get everything they want and more when there already are limited resources?Regular Kid’s and families get screwed in this country and this state. The idea that we don’t do enough to support special needs children is insane. Families with these children get an insane amount of resources and handouts from the state and now those of us with regular kids continue to have to figure it out on our own to accommodate kids and families already getting free insurance, access to an abundance of therapy and extra resources in the community and more. 

        • Yikes August 31, 2022 (4:02 pm)


        • Yikes is Right August 31, 2022 (5:46 pm)

          To all the parents of special ed kids who are NOT receiving an “insane amount of resources and handouts from the state,” “free insurance,” and “access to an abundance of therapy and extra resources” – which is all or nearly all of you – please know that most of your community does not share Josh’s viewpoint. His comment is ignorant and hurtful. I see you. Hang in there. 

        • Shufflerunner August 31, 2022 (5:56 pm)

          Josh, your comment is so gross I’m genuinely surprised it got past moderation. There is no such thing as a “regular” kid. Anybody that’s experienced the SPS special education system would probably not describe it as an “insane amount of resources” in a good way. Each student has an individualized education plan that changes each year. Meaning Special Educators need to develop 20+ lesson plans per student per year, minimum. Teachers are expected to pay out of pocket for resources and this is only compounded for Special Educators. I personally have paid thousands of dollars each year to support special education and I’m not even a teacher. Teachers do not have the support and resources they need to do their job. They’re not trying get rich, they’re barely middle class, they’re just trying to do their job. 

        • Yikes is Right August 31, 2022 (6:29 pm)

          To all the parents of special ed kids who are NOT receiving “an insane amount of resources and handouts,” “free insurance,” and “access to an abundance of therapy and other resources” – which is all or nearly all of you, please know that most of your community does not share Josh’s viewpoint. His comment is ignorant and hurtful. I see you. Hang in there. 

      • Adam August 31, 2022 (4:17 pm)

        Well great point. If we can’t have it both ways, I don’t want thousands of students to sit at home losing valuable education days just so some teachers can get a few bucks more. Thanks for making this decision on who to support so much easier. 

    • Al King August 31, 2022 (8:15 pm)

      Adam. You seem to want it both ways. Give us the FACTS about teachers making plenty of money and they don’t need more. And how about this. You, and the other “teachers shut up and go to work and stop complaining” commenters spend a year teaching. Then you’ll be qualified to say what they need. Of course, you would never do that. It’s more fun to stand behind the wall and lob insults.

  • Vee August 31, 2022 (7:54 am)

    Why does this always happen last minute, its ridiculous,  students need to get back to school. The last 2 years have been so disruptive, really tired of this, no strike, teach the kids on time, no delay

    • Anne August 31, 2022 (12:47 pm)

      Simple- Support those that teach our children. Advocate for their needs- which will also benefit students.  Most strikes -or threat of strikes occur at a time they could have  the most impact – holidays- start of school, etc.A teachers strike wouldn’t mean nearly as much if it happened  in July. As frustrating as it might be- it makes sense. 

  • D. Coleman August 31, 2022 (9:19 am)

    WSB Thank you for the link explaining the situation. Facts are good.. thank you

  • Brian August 31, 2022 (9:45 am)

    Hell yeah I support workers and support strikes. 

  • zark00 August 31, 2022 (11:01 am)

    This really stinks. Neither side seems to be negotiating in good faith. SPS is saying they’re supporting teachers, but at the same time are removing class size restrictions completely. SEA received the offer on Aug 9th but waited until the week before school starts to threaten a strike and hold every district family hostage.  We would have had a month of families contacting SPS telling them to get it together, but instead we have a week of panic as people scramble to figure out what they’ll do when school doesn’t start.  SPS has no shame, they will screw over teachers, schools and students at the drop of a hat, and they regularly do. SEA wants us as allies, which I am but they’re pushing it. This kind of gamesmanship and bad faith negotiation tactic makes everything worse for everyone. 

    • CAM August 31, 2022 (5:52 pm)

      I’m going to assume that the teachers are not legally allowed to strike until the contract expires. That is what antiunion legislation has created in this country. Employees in certain industries cannot strike while under an active contract and therefore have to wait until the last minute to vote on it and wait until it impacts the most people to take action. If employees could strike while the contract was active you’d bet a lot more of these disputes would get resolved faster. 

    • MercyMoi August 31, 2022 (6:17 pm)

      The union membership has to vote to strike and if both parties are working hard to negotiate, why would SEA “threaten to strike” before negotiations are even finished? They have to wait until negotiations are finished and then ask members how they want to respond to the District’s final offer. 

  • Josh August 31, 2022 (2:16 pm)

    SEA might have a point about the Special education class sizes but given that the kitty has gotten smaller due to decreased enrollment largely due to their actions over the pandemic how can they expect to get more of everything they want?  Both sides are to blame for this and while they fight working families and children suffer. Shame on both sides. 

  • quiz August 31, 2022 (4:59 pm)

    I generally support giving teacher more of everything, but this is piss-poor timing. We’re coming out of two years of monumental educational disruptions. To say they’re going to instigate further disruption at this moment in time seems out of step with current sentiment. If they vote to strike teachers will loose a ton of political capital and erode good will in the community.

  • Jimbo August 31, 2022 (5:14 pm)

    It will be interesting to see the effects of having a small percentage of children who parents have chosen online learning education for their children. It will be interesting to find out if these children who one day will be adults are able to deal working with a group of adults who share different viewpoints and might not be nice to work with and other things that children learn and discovered by having to deal with not so nice peers and learning to deal with a variety of teachers who have different personality  who have to deal with peers on a day to day in public education.  

  • Mark47n August 31, 2022 (5:42 pm)

    A reminder: teacher’s are not indentured servants. They are not daycare workers.. They are employees of the district. This gets lost in the complaints of angry parents, often the same angry parents that abuse educators at all levels of the system. Perhaps those same complaining parents should go to the district office and insist that they offer a good deal to the teachers rather than the crumbs that are so often swept on the floor for them to pick up rather than always blaming the union and teachers. Finally, for those of you that think that teachers are lazy, or unskilled, etc, perhaps you should ask yourself why so many have been leaving the profession. What was the last interaction that you had with a teacher? What would they say about it? I would think that districts would be offering the moon trying to retain teachers to meet their mandated obligations (access to public education is a right, folks!) in the face of the teacher shortage, not sneering at them.

  • Hpe Family August 31, 2022 (6:12 pm)

    WRITE to SPS Board about supporting students with IEPS. This has always been an issue in SPS supporting students with IEPs. 

  • Was a teacher September 1, 2022 (6:38 pm)

    We need a new law that prevents the poorly run SEA and the s—show that is SPS from holding the voting public hostage to their ineptitude.   In the future SEA and SPS should have until July 1 to come to an agreement.  Failure to do so causes the entire SPS management to forfeit their jobs and The SEA union to be dissolved.  The teachers are then obligated to work under their existing contract for an extra year or find employment elsewhere.  They can all try to come to agreement again next summer.  

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