Eatonville teachers strike: Union authorizes picket next week

Eatonville is the latest school district where educators have decided to go on strike if they cannot reach a contractual agreement with the district

EATONVILLE, Wash. — Teachers in the Eatonville school district plan to go on strike next week if they cannot reach a contractual agreement with the district.

Members of the Eatonville Education Association (EEA), the union representing teachers, voted Tuesday to authorize a strike on September 7, the first day of classes.

“After years of working in the toughest teaching environment we have ever experienced, we will not accept takeaways or contracts that do not improve the needs of our students or our working conditions,” EEA President Michael Sniezak said in a statement.

The EEA said it is asking the district for smaller class sizes, better student mental health and behavior support, reduced caseloads, support for shared classrooms and competitive compensation.

The union said it approached the district in the spring to agree collective bargaining. The district made its first proposal to teachers in July, in which the union said the educators’ proposals were “respectfully rejected.”

The EEA requested a mediator last month.

Talks continued over four hearing dates in August and an additional session on Thursday. A union spokesman said another hearing was set for Tuesday, but if there was no movement then teachers would picket the line.

“Our ultimate goal is to get back to work and not go on strike,” Sniezak said. “We are asking Superintendent Gary Neal to work with us to complete this contract. He can do that.”

Eatonville is among several western Washington school districts where teachers are either on strike or willing to strike over pay increases, classroom sizes and workloads.

Teachers in Kent, Washington state’s fourth-largest school district, have been on strike since August 25, delaying the first week of school. Teachers in Seattle, the state’s largest county, approved a strike vote and are expected to decide this weekend whether to go on strike next week. Port Angeles educators started the school year Thursday but said they would strike Tuesday if a contract isn’t agreed by then.

https://www.king5.com/article/news/education/eatonville-teachers-authorize-strike/281-55c35bd4-c703-4441-8c0c-99f44a95c8b2 Eatonville teachers strike: Union authorizes picket next week

Alley Einstein

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