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‘Negotiations are scheduled to resume tomorrow’ — Progress in Seattle teachers strike — UPDATE: No deal — UPDATEx2: Day 5

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A Day One picket at Capitol Hill’s Lowell Elementary

UPDATE 9/13/2015 5:45 PM: There will be no school on Monday. The district and the union representing Seattle’s public school teachers announced Sunday that the two sides have reached agreements on several issues but remain divided over salary.

“The district and SEA have come to agreement on many issues, including testing, recess time and strategies for closing the opportunity gap,” the district’s latest statement on the negotiations reads. “However, there are some points which both sides continue to work toward agreement, including teacher and professional salary.”

The district has posted documentation of its offers here.

The union has reportedly revised its demand for an 18% raise in the portion of salaries paid by the district over three years. The latest numbers from the teachers are for a two-year deal with a 4.7% raise in year one and 5% in year two.

Meanwhile, another schools labor issue in the state appears to have been resolved in Pasco where there is reportedly a tentative deal in place. A judge imposed fines against the Pasco Association of Educators and union representatives and earlier had ruled that the strike in the Eastern Washington city was illegal. The Seattle School Board voted earlier to authorize taking the union here to court but officials have said so far there are no plans to do so.

Original report: There were positive indications of progress over the weekend as negotiations resumed to end Seattle’s first teachers strike since 1985.

In an email sent to media Saturday afternoon, Seattle Public Schools said the district had presented a new offer with “added funds” with plans to continue talks with union representatives from the Seattle Education Association on Sunday:

The SPS and SEA bargaining teams resumed negotiations today.

The district presented a new offer today that added funds specifically designed to address the 20 minute addition in the student day (grades K-12).

Negotiations are scheduled to resume tomorrow.

The district continues to be ready to continue bargaining so that school can begin for our 53,000 students.  The district will provide updates as they become available.

“Negotiations will continue on Sunday,” read a brief update posted by SEA Saturday night along with a call to supporters to “click here” to email the Seattle School Board.

IMG_6520The more positive — if brief! — positioning from both sides follows a Friday dedicated to public service not pickets and two days without formal negotiations as both side reportedly worked through mediators to bridge the gap in salary proposals and address the union’s demands around recess, staffing, and testing.

Sunday will bring a concert in support of Seattle educators to the Neptune Theater:

Thanks to STG and Neptune Theater for donating the space and staffing the event. Because of this generous donation we will be able to give all money collected to the union’s fund for teachers who are having trouble making it without any income while they strike.

Suggested donation at the door is $5 to $5 billion dollars, if you’d like to solve the state’s education funding woes.

If the strike continues Monday, it will mark the fourth day Seattle schoolchildren have gone without class since the scheduled start of the school year. SPS has said it plans to extend the school year to meet required education standards. In the meantime, Seattle Parks community centers will expand their efforts to support day camps from 600 up to 3,000 students beginning Monday. There are 53,000 students in Seattle’s public schools.

Tuesday, a morning ‘March to Support Our Teachers’ from Pioneer Square to SPS’s SoDo headquarters is planned.

UPDATE 9/14/2015 3:10 PM: District officials says they are studying a “new idea” presented by the teachers union “late Sunday night” but that there will be no school again on Tuesday, the fifth day of the strike.

A SPS spokesperson said she could not yet provide specifics of the union’s latest offer. On Sunday, the Seattle Education Association said it had offered a two-year deal with a 4.7% raise in year one and 5% in year two.

The district also announced that the strike’s duration will mean new school days will need to be scheduled at some point once educators return to work. The first three days of the strike were covered by planned snow days but subsequent days will need to be made up either on weekends or by shortening the midwinter break, the spokesperson said.

According to the district spokesperson, schools may not be prepared to open immediately once an agreement is reached.

The district spokesperson said she was reluctant to call the ideas proposals because the plans being exchanged most recently are not formally binding.

“Everybody is in a holding pattern,” the spokesperson said Monday.

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16 thoughts on “‘Negotiations are scheduled to resume tomorrow’ — Progress in Seattle teachers strike — UPDATE: No deal — UPDATEx2: Day 5

  1. The Seattle school board’s positions demonstrate not just ignorance of research on topics such as recess, equity, testing, and what it takes to retain good educators, but a deliberate rejection of all of it. It’s time for policy to be set based on research and data – I mean, if they expect teachers to base instruction on data, they could at least set the example. Supporting SEA on these issues is supporting our children.

    • All the rest of the demands are nothing but a ‘smoke screen’. This isn’t about kids. It’s about greed. If the teachers received $172 million the first day, the strike would have ended.

      • This, obviously coming from someone who can read the minds of several thousand educators, and what each and every one of their individual priorities are.

        Your argument makes sense because the excellent teacher-pay is clearly what attracted these educators to the field in the first place, especially given the fact that their are no other jobs available in Seattle for individuals with bachelors, masters, and doctorate degrees. Given that the high pay for teachers is what initially attracted educators, it follows that their sole motive for striking would be a relatively small dollar-amount increase in that pay.

        Oh, wait, none of that logic makes any sense. You should be proud that, unless your are actually a mind-reader, that terribly flawed logic is the only logic that could have allowed you to arrive at the conclusion which you reached here.

  2. Is it required for teachers to picket or attend sessions? I know many teachers that just stayed home or went hiking. I don’t think changing your grindr and scruff pic to red should be considered participating, just sayin… Are they getting paid for these days or have to use sick days?

    • Teachers are neither being paid nor using sick days for the time spent striking. Because students must be in school a certain number of days, we will all be working later into the summer. Many teachers live paycheck to paycheck because of who badly they are underpaid, so this is very scary for those individuals. The decision to strike was not taken lightly because teachers are taking risks of their own, and are sensitive to issues affecting students’ families. One thing that will not happen, however, is that students will miss any school. They will have the same number of school days this school year once an agreement is reached.

  3. They’re not being paid. The days ‘off’ will be made up by eliminating vacation days or pushing the school year later so they’ll get their full salary eventually.

  4. Anyone can go online and see what their kids’ GREEDY teacher made last years. The media only reports the teacher’s ‘base salary’. Nothing is said about their Bonus’ and full Medical. Also, teachers only work 181 days a year. Do your homework people!

      • Yes.. I have been a teacher. I’m also a Union Employee. I will always believe in worker’s rights. What Seattle Teachers are doing is not right. They’re angry because they feel they don’t make enough money to live in Seattle. People commute to work every day. Why are teachers different? Teacher’s salaries are public record. Check and see how much your kid’s teacher earned last year. It’s a real eye opener.

      • jo, having been a teacher (I’ll take that as true), what level did you teach, during what years, and in what state/district?

        How many hours above and beyond the hours for which you were paid did you work?

        I’m asking because the contract establishes work for a set number of hours. What would you think if we froze our pay, and were compensated for hours worked beyond our contract hours under the same standards as the Fair Labor Standards Act (if our employer knew or should have known that we were working extra time)?

  5. Wow, some of these comments are really gross. Teachers do an incredibly difficult and important job. Lord knows this city is full of people getting paid big money for totally inconsequential work. I would think people would want the people in charge of molding their children to be compensated fairly. Seriously people.

  6. rather than relying on what you see/hear from different media outlets (including CHS), why not talk to teachers and hear first hand why they are on strike? I spent some time with teachers at Meany Middle School on day 2 of the strike, and it was time very well spent….form your own opinions after educating yourself.

  7. I would like to respond to the claim that this is all about teacher pay. Although teachers deserve the salary increases they are requesting, this strike, is about much, much more. Here is the Seattle Public Schools (“SPS”) website regarding the current status of negotations: http://www.seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=1975167

    I am not saying that SPS’s account of the status of each issue is objective and correct. For example, it contains the teachers union’s initial offer for a 21% salary increase over three years, while the union’s current offer is actually 5% in year one and 5.5% in year two.

    I was actually disheartened by the number of issues that have not been resolved. According to SPS, they include, among other things, “Partnership Committee: Committee that will monitor the work of the Equity Teams,” “Special Education Staffing Ratios, Relief, and Workload Related to the number of students a specific special education program might serve,” and “National Board certification assistance: Provided a process to support teachers with the process of National Board and Professional Certificate work,” and “Nursing updates: SEA proposed to add additional days for nurses to prepare sites. Also deals with disposal of medications. SPS approves of disposal language.”

    To give you an idea of the types of things still being disputed, let’s consider the issue about nursing. Our school only has a nurse 1-2 days out of the week (I believe it’s one day). That means that students have no access to a nurse at school four days per week.

    Next, let’s consider a small part of what SPS rejected under “Partnership Committee: Committee that will monitor the work of the Equity Teams.” The Union asked for language in the contract stating that the “purpose of the committee will be to address the issue of the achievement gap.” That sounds like a pretty simple thing to agree upon, right? Have a committee figure out why there is such a huge achievement gap among students in different Seattle schools, and then try to fix those problems. The district crossed out the words “achievement gap,” and proposed limiting the committees to the following work: “The purpose of the committee will be to address the issues of disproportionate discipline.” Why would the district fight the union on this? Disproportionate discipline is a real issue, but isn’t having a committee study discrepancies in student achievement at least as important? Why not both? Imagine being a teacher on the union’s bargaining team, and seeing that the district is going to fight you on everything, no matter how reasonable.

  8. AS A LIFE LONG “STUDENT / TEACHER”, TEACHERS FORM THE MINDS OF THE FUTURE ALONG WITH PREACHERS AND MASS MEDIA. TEACHERS ARE ON THE FRONT LINES OF CULTUTAL ECONOMIC CHAOS WITHOUT ADEQUATE PAY, RESPECT, BADGES, TASERS, PEPPER SPYAY ETC.??? MANNY OF THE BEST TEACHERS HAVE QUIT ON JOINED MORE LUCRATIVE CORPORATE AMERICA, ESPECIALLY “ABOVE THE LAW” BANKSTERS / REAL ESTATE DEVELOPERS???

    YOU GET WHAT OU PAY FOR. FORTUNATELY TEACHERS THAT LOVE THEIR PROFESSION ARE SMART ENOUGH TO SHOP AT “GOODWIL LAND VALUE VILLAGE”. SOME EVEN PATRONIZE FOOD BANKS??? THEY CAN’T EVEN THINK OF BUYING A HOUSE IN SEATTLE ON TEACHERS SALARY???

    ALL OF YOU THAT THINK TEACHERS WITH BATCHLORS, MASTERS AND PHD’S ARE PAID TOO MUCH NEED TO CHECK THE SALARIES OF ARMED GOVERNMENT AGENTS WITH GUNS, BADGES AND ONLY “HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMAS”??? Omari Tahir-Garrett, VIETNAM VETERAN, WORLD TRAVELER (TEACHERS RESPECTED IN AFRICA AND ASIA), HISTORY / ANTI COLONIAL SOCIAL STUDIES TEACHER AND CANDIDATE FOR SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL (2018)

    WEBSITE: OmariForCityCouncil
    WEBSITE: AFRICATOWN / CHINATOWN NEWS DIGEST
    WEBSITE: prison2president