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United, WEA members negotiate fair pay and advocate for our students

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Bainbridge Island
Bainbridge Island EA member Whitney Skarbek is pleased with her union contract.

WEA members across Washington are negotiating big pay raises this summer, thanks to billions of dollars in new state salary money.

As union members, we know the importance of having a good contract – and standing united together at the local and state level.

“The union gives us a voice to advocate for our students and for ourselves,” said Katie Coder, a second-grade teacher and Oak Harbor Education Association member.

In rural Mossyrock, educators just negotiated a 26 pay raise pay raise. Bainbridge Island Education Association members negotiated a 21 percent raise. Members of the Bridgeport Education Support Personnel Association in Eastern Washington negotiated double-digit percentage increases with a new maximum salary of $37.10 an hour.

Money for K-12 pay raises is the result of the McCleary Supreme Court case, which WEA helped lead and fund. Both the Legislature and the Court were clear: Competitive, professional pay is necessary to attract and keep qualified, caring teachers and support staff for Washington students. (The state allocated the money for salaries, but any raises must be negotiated by the unions in each school district.)

Not coincidentally, at the same time we’re negotiating substantial salary increases, corporate-funded political groups in our state are urging WEA members to leave WEA and give up our right to bargain a fair contract and higher pay.

These groups, which are supported by the Betsy DeVos family and other wealthy interests, are trying to weaken our union and make it harder for us to get the pay, benefits, and working conditions we deserve.

In spam emails and junk mail – and even on your doorstep – these anti-union operatives will tell you they’re all about “worker freedom,” but don’t believe it for a second.

The truth? They represent the extremist “Freedom Foundation,” which for years has been working on behalf of corporate special interests to destroy public unions and privatize our students’ public schools.

  • They oppose our right to organize and fairly bargain your contract.
  • They oppose increases in educator pay.
  • They oppose funding for class-size reduction.
  • They oppose nearly every effort to make sure all Washington’s children have the amply funded public education our Constitution guarantees.

Here’s the information WEA is mailing to every member this week.

“Though the extremist billionaires and corporate interests who fund these attacks want to make it harder for us to fight for our students and our schools, their efforts only strengthen our resolve to remain united and strong for our students,” said Kim Mead, WEA president.

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