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Senate Republicans Attack our Bargaining Rights, TRI Pay, Class Sizes

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It’s outrageous, really.

In an irresponsible, last-minute political ploy, Senate Republicans have introduced legislation that would limit our ability to negotiate TRI pay with our school districts – a direct attack on our collective bargaining rights.

They also have a separate bill that overturns I-1351 and eliminates funding for smaller class sizes – in exchange for a one-time 3.8 percent salary “bribe” for educators.

Email your legislators now and tell them in clear terms: We will not stand for any attack on our collective bargaining rights, and we won’t be bought off.

Senate Bill 6052 would immediately restrict school districts’ ability to increase teacher pay for Time, Responsibility and Incentive (TRI). That would prevent districts from making progress toward paying teachers competitive, professional wages — which the legislature itself has also failed to do.

Local TRI pay is a major part of many teachers’ salaries.

The Legislature has not funded a teacher cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for the last six years, and the same Senate Republicans have proposed a mere 3 percent COLA for teachers spread over two years, and no increase in health care funding. Legislators themselves are getting a more than 11 percent pay raise. The Senate budget comes nowhere near funding the higher salaries called for by the Legislature’s own recommendations, based on comparable professions.

The Senate Republicans also have proposed overturning voter-approved I-1351, which would keep Washington students packed into some of the most overcrowded classrooms in the country. That bill is SB 6059.

“These Senate bills are a cynical and punitive political attack on teachers,” said Kim Mead, WEA president. “Let’s be clear – these bills have nothing to do with funding the quality education our kids deserve. Instead of complying with the Supreme Court’s McCleary decision and fully funding K-12 basic education, Senate Republicans have decided to mask their own negligence and inaction by punishing teachers.

“Our kids – and our teachers — deserve better.”

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