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Striking teachers stand strong on the picket lines in 3 school districts

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Tacoma strike picket lines
Tacoma EA members joined the picket lines today.

Monday evening update: Striking teachers in Centralia have reached a tentative agreement.

Sunday morning update: Striking teachers in Longview and Evergreen have reached tentative agreements. Teachers remain on strike in Centralia, Tumwater, Tacoma and Battle Ground.

Saturday morning (Sept. 8) update: Striking teachers in Puyallup have reached a tentative agreement.

Friday morning update: Striking teachers in Stanwood-Camano have reached a tentative agreement.

Friday evening update: Striking teachers in Tukwila have reached a tenative agreement.

Around 8,000 educators in nine Washington school districts remained on strike Sept. 6.

Their goal is competitive, professional pay raises to attract and keep qualified, caring, committed teachers and support professionals. WEA members in dozens of districts across the state have successfully negotiated significant pay raises this year.

Washougal teachers unanimously approved a two-year contract that provides an 18 percent pay raise in the first year and 5 percent in the second year.

“Washougal teachers are proud of our new two-year contract and the competitive pay raises it provides. On average, Washougal teachers will be receiving an 18 percent salary increase this school year, which will help us continue attracting and keeping great educators for Washougal students. We hope our settlement will inspire superintendents in other striking school districts to negotiate the pay raises their teachers deserve. If we can make it happen in Washougal, they can, too,” said Washougal Association of Educators President Eric Engebretson.

ESP of Clover Park
ESP of Clover Park members enjoy strong community support, including from Rep. Christine Kilduff (right).

Community support for striking educators remains strong on the picket lines, on social media and in traditional media.

“Every place I went, I saw parents and kids there supporting their teachers, many of them walking the line with them,” Puyallup Education Association President Karen McNamara told The News Tribune.

WEA-Retired President Neva Luke posted on the Longview Education Association Facebook page: “Your community supports you, the law supports you, and we retirees support you. We are proud that you are standing up for what’s right. We are proud that you are standing up to the bullies of your district.”

In a letter to the editor, a former Tacoma School Board member gave this advice to her former colleagues: “If you are worried about saving face, you might want to start with making teachers a priority. You may want to give them the competitive pay they deserve.”

Elma ESP members and Aberdeen teachers both reached tentative agreements recently.

In Steilacoom, ESP members recently negotiated pay raises of 15 percent.

WEA members in other locals continue to negotiate, including Education Support Professionals of Clover Park. ESPCP represents 600-plus classified employees, including bus drivers, secretaries, clerks, IT techs, mechanics, paraeducators, licensed practical nurses and food service employees. 

“We remain far apart on salary increases,” said ESPCP President Irene Oda. “The CPSD has no interest in either attracting or retaining quality employees.” 

These are the local WEA affiliates on strike as of Sept. 10:

  • Tacoma
  • Tumwater
  • Battle Ground

Teachers in Vancouver, Washougal, Ridgefield, Hockinson and Rainier ended their strikes after ratifying new contracts with large pay raises.

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