Seattle teachers’ strike keeps kids home on 1st day of school “Details”

Seattle teachers' strike keeps kids home on 1st day of school - Details

SEATTLE — Teachers in Seattle will walk picket lines Wednesday after last-minute negotiations over wages and other issues failed to avert a strike.

“After bargaining until midnight Monday and for most of the day Tuesday, it was clear that a settlement wasn’t close,” the Seattle Education Association, the union that represents about 5,000 teachers, said in a statement.

Soon after the union’s announcement late Tuesday, the Seattle School Board voted to authorize the district superintendent to take legal action against the teachers.

The Seattle Times reports:

If the district requests legal action and a court grants it, the union will take another vote on whether to continue striking … and continue to work toward what SEA members see as a fair contract.

Among the issues over which the two sides remain divided are pay increases, teacher evaluations and the length of the school day. The Associated Press has more:

The district earlier offered an increase of nearly 9 percent over three years. The union countered with a 10.5 percent increase over two years … but … the district barely budged from its previous proposal.

Teachers said they would picket the district’s 97 schools on Wednesday. The district serves 53,000 students.

KIRO-TV, a local television station, points out that more than a “dozen judges have ruled teacher strikes illegal in Washington since 1976.”

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