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Teachers union members stop short of strike call

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on May 14, 2011 at 6:46 pm with 10 Comments »
May 14, 2011 6:49 pm

How do teachers feel about the pay cuts being considered in Olympia? A vote today, at a gathering of union activists in the Washington Education Association, can be seen as one measure of how angry they are.

Delegates at the WEA Representative Assembly in Tacoma chose between two strategies for action next year in the event of pay cuts: a loosely defined ”day of action,” leaving details up to local districts, or a Sept. 21 one-day strike.

To some extent, the question was symbolic because local unions would likely have to poll their members on any strike no matter what the statewide organization says.

Still, the issue of whether to proclaim “no pay, no day, no way” produced a long and occasionally emotional debate.

One educator who urged a strike said he and other protesters who slept in the Capitol Rotunda in Olympia demonstrated the power of collective action. An opponent said while her local union would probably strike during a day of action, those in other school districts might handle it differently. One member pointed out the state is broke, while another said there must be money to pay educators if private jet owners get a tax break.

In the end, the assembly voted comfortably against a strike, then more narrowly approved the statewide day of action.

On Friday, Gov. Chris Gregoire spoke to the assembly and reportedly was greeted with standing ovations despite signing on to proposals for teacher pay cuts. Today, they stood and cheered again for U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, who’s warming up for a 2012 re-election campaign. Cantwell told the crowd:

  • “Investment in education, and the workforce it takes to deliver that, will help us secure a better economic future for all Americans.”
  • Collective bargaining is under attack, she said. “I’m going to continue to fight to make sure that collective bargaining is the law of the land, not just here in Washington State.”
  • She said federal funding should be distributed to school districts by set formulas, not as competitive grants. “Students shouldn’t have to compete for a good education,” she said.
Leave a comment Comments → 10
  1. TheMASO says:

    Let em strilke…don’t give in for ransom…hold all kids back one year. If all teachers go without wages for a year maybe they would learn something!!!

  2. I am in favor of the teachers going on strike.As soon as they strike I am also in favor of doing what Reagan did to the Air Controllers when they were told by their leaders to ignore Reagans ultimatum,which was to go back to work within 72 hours or lose their jobs and not be rehireable!The Planes kept flying and landing,as,much as before and much to the Controllers surprise most of them were fired as Reagan promised.Now if we can get some School Board Members to enact the same conditions as Reagan did, on the Teachers, wouldn’t that be a bit of fresh air?As it stands, I am afraid you will see the School boards cave in to the WEA demands,as that is what seems to always happen.This striking is in spite of a no strike clause in the teachers contract that was signed by the Teachers.Anyway that was what I heard had happened when the contracts were signed.Anyone hear anything different?

  3. truthbusterguy says:

    Why do teachers always cheer dim bulb patty, maria can’t do anything well and the gueen bee guv? Because their unions tell them too.

    Another strike is another nail in the WEA coffin. The public has a lower opinion of teachers than at any time.

    Once they strike I want a voucher from the state to send my kid to a private school. I’m done with government (so called public schools) schools.

  4. GuiltyBystander says:

    Funny how the WEA will never threaten to go on strike because their textbooks are years out of date, the roofs in their schools are leaking or their students are underachieving in their classrooms, but when it gets down to seeing their paychecks cut or a few too many papers to grade? Out come the signs and the lines.

    If the WEA put half as much passion into teaching their students as they do in ensuring their paychecks and benefits are kept up, there wouldn’t be a test-score problem in public schools. But I guess they have their own priorities. One thing’s for sure: The teacher’s union could care less about students or parents.

  5. spotted1 says:

    Guiltybystander, funny how the parents will never threaten to march on the school board when their children’s textbooks are years out of date, the roofs in their schools are leaking, or their students are underachieving in their classrooms, but talk about cutting athletics and out come the signs and the lines.

  6. PaddlerGirl says:

    It’s amazing the nasty stuff coming from all of (with the exception of spotted1) when the whole point of the article was to say that the assembly did not vote to go on strike. The voters of this state have sucked the revenue so dry that the Legislature is left to decide the best way to gut public education. The claim that the teachers’ union does not care about student and education is so misguided, I don’t even know where to begin. Hundreds of WEA members have testified this session to keep class sizes small – keep them at the third worst in the nation and not let them get any bigger. Class size is about student learning.

    The blame for this whole situation falls on the shoulders of the voters of this state. Their short-sighted notion of reducing taxes does not come without a cost. This is not about teachers or the WEA. This is about a revenue problem – the choices Washington voters have made.

  7. truthbusterguy says:

    You can’t have a discussion about failing schools, the WEA, unions, the guv, teachers and budgets without talking about the source of this cancer.

    It’s the one party rule in this state, forced dues collected by the unions and given to democrats, union thugry, unable to fire bad teachers and bloated benifits is the problem. To talk about any other subject is not addressing the real problem.

    It’s a liberal cop out to blame the voters and say it’s a revenue problem. GIVE ME A BREAK!

  8. Truthbusterguy is a funny name for someone who doesn’t have clue what he is writing about. Do you have any facts, or just made-up blather?

  9. Sandy H. says:

    Our teachers’ working conditions are our students’ learning conditions. Students in middle and upper-income neighborhoods are top performers on international tests. Students living in poverty can be just as successful but the expense and effort to achieve those results are greater. They require more time, smaller class sizes as well as better nutrition and health care services to succeed.

    We need to stop blaming the voters, teachers, unions, and politicians for lower levels of achievement. Instead we should advocate for policies that reduce poverty, expand the economy and create high-wage jobs. The GI bill which subsidized education and housing for our servicemen and women created the greatest economic expansion the world has ever known. Corporations and high income wage earners should be contributing to infrastructure enhancements (education, transportation, etc.) in the form of taxes because of the returns they will gain on this investment.

    By the way, my father-in-law was an air traffic controller who retired a few years before the strike. You might be interested to know the reason why the planes kept flying is that the government hired the controllers all back as independent contractors at a higher rate of pay!

  10. truthbusterguy says:

    wife a member of the WEA and we get their letters that “suggest” what she should do, how to vote, what to say, and etc. If she objects her peers shun her.

    She hate to pays the dues each month and wants to opt out. But for now when the union suggest she do something she takes a different path.

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