Teachers go out on illegal strike in WA

More strike stories: here

Kids get a lesson in collective bargaining

Teachers in the Bellevue (WA) School District are engaged in an illegal strike. Despite the presence of a mediator on September 2, negotiations appear to be stalled. Teachers clearly anticipated this move, voting to authorize a strike back in June. So what are the issues on the bargaining table?

One of the major items is compensation. School funding comes from federal, state, and local sources, and teachers in Bellevue are already some of the highest paid in the state. The school district is offering a 6.6% pay increase for the 2008-09 contract period. The average teacher salary in Bellevue is currently $58,500 (total compensation is $80,000 when benefits are included).

Teacher union negotiators are demanding pay increases double of the district’s offer. The school district says it cannot afford more pay without serious reductions in staff or increases in class size.

Another major bargaining issue is the district’s curriculum mandates. More on that later.


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