Seattle teachers on strike: Because it's all about "respect"

The strike is  illegal. As you read through this, remember it’s about respect money.
seattle teachers strike
Seattle Times: Teachers across Seattle took to the picket lines Wednesday as thousands of parents seek child-care options and leaders of Seattle Public Schools consider legal action to end a strike that’s the first of its kind in 30 years.
Teachers announced their walkout Tuesday evening, just before the Seattle School Board voted to authorize the superintendent to go to court to try to force them back to work.
Engineering instructor Doug Hartley was among dozens of Cleveland High School employees who cheered for honking cars and waved picket signs saying “On Strike!” at South Lucile Street and 15th Avenue South Wednesday morning.
They started marching down the street at 8:25 a.m., with Hartley giving directions and passing out Seattle Education Association union garb and signs.
“It doesn’t seem like we’re getting much respect from the district. It isn’t about the money or anything else; it’s respect,” he said.
seattle teachers strike2
Hartley has been a Seattle School District employee for more than two decades. And after years of settling for he called “subpar contracts,” he said teachers aren’t going to “roll over” anymore.
“We’ve been putting up for so much for so long. At some point, it’s the tipping point,” he said. “This isn’t vacation for us … I don’t know how many weeks or months it’s going to take. I hope it doesn’t last forever.”
Biology teacher Mike Shaw said that by raising compensation for teachers the district might lower its turnover rate. Teachers are coming to the area to gain experience, he said, and then often move to other places where the pay is higher.
“It’s time for teachers to get paid what they are worth,” Shaw said. “It’s time for Seattle schools to say it with money.”
Members of the union that represents about 5,000 Seattle teachers and other school employees voted Thursday to strike if they failed to reach a consensus with district officials on contract agreements before school was supposed to start. District officials and union leaders have said bargaining will continue, even amid the strike.
The two sides have been in contract talks for months. They reached agreement on a number of issues over the Labor Day weekend, including a guaranteed 30 minutes of recess for elementary students and increased pay for certified and classified substitute teachers. Unresolved issues include pay increases and increased instructional time.
show me the money
The district wants to add 30 minutes to the school day, saying that will increase student achievement and allow more time for physical education, arts and music.
And the district says it has provided raises to teachers over the past several years, even when the state wasn’t providing cost-of-living increases, and said its salary proposal would keep Seattle teachers among the highest paid in the state.
Union leaders said teachers and staff would picket at every Seattle school Wednesday. At Thurgood Marshall Elementary, about 35 teachers and other workers marched down Martin Luther King Jr. Way South with music blasting and drum beats echoing.
Samantha Egelhoff, a fifth-grade teacher, said she wishes the school year could have begun as scheduled. “We would rather be at work,” she said. “It’s not fun, nobody wants to do this.” She said her classroom is prepared for the year’s start, with students’ name tags on their desks and bulletin boards decorated.
On Tuesday, school employees hosted an ice-cream social, where they met their incoming students and then reluctantly bid them farewell in lieu of the strike.

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5 years ago

How much are the Seattle teachers getting compared to the rest of the USA? What is the Gap between what they are getting, and what the Union is asking for? Usually, a simple “pay increase” isn’t what develops into a strike. I have done contract bids with Unions, and if this is the whole story, this is the flakiest “Strike” I ever heard of. They are striking over NOTHING if this is all there is.

5 years ago
Reply to  DCG

Goodness, I bet any elder on social security scheduled for zero raise this year and any soldier scheduled for a 1.3 % would think 14% over 3 years would be amazing, let alone the 18% they want. A few years back, the union spoiled teachers here were wanting a huge raise also. They agreed to and signed a contract that drug testing would get them their raise if they passed. When the time came, they got their raises, but refused any testing. I have a hard time gathering up much sympathy for teachers these days. I know there are some… Read more »

5 years ago

“Special Interest groups” are ruining the country. Thank you for this great post, DCG.

Auntie Lulu
Auntie Lulu
5 years ago
Reply to  TrailDust

I agree . . . we have seen the rise of unionized civil servants, including teachers–and this is the very thing that will break the backbone of our country! I would say this nonsense about this being about “respect” is a pile of garbage, reaching way into the Heavens! Seattle had given these teachers pay increases, even when others were not getting increases. I have very little respect for teachers in this day and age(although, I got a teaching certificate, way back in the old days.) Where possible, I would say parents need to home school–that seems to be where… Read more »

5 years ago

Yup, all about the Benjamins… nothing else.

5 years ago

They spent good money on matching T-shirts for their strike.

5 years ago

This is nothing new for Seattle teachers. They strike every year, rain or shine, regardless of whatever contractual obligations they already have.
Respect, my @$$. It’s all about the money. And if it’s all about the money, then they shouldn’t be schoolteachers.