Major Teachers Union Goes On Strike, Delaying The First Day Of School For Thousands

Reagan Reese 

Teachers of the largest school district in Washington are on strike on what should have been the first day of classes after rejecting a deal that would have kept them working in classrooms.

The Seattle Education Association (SEA) could not come to an agreement with Seattle Public Schools (SPS), which has roughly 50,000 students, in Seattle, Washington, causing its members to strike Wednesday morning, SPS announced on its website. The SEA rejected the school district’s memorandum of understanding which would have kept teachers working under their current agreement and allowed students to return to school on time as contract negotiations continued.

After rejecting the memorandum of understanding, 95% of the SEA voted to authorize a strike, according to King 5 News.

“To me that is a distraction because to me all we need is the district to match our sense of urgency and to be at the bargaining table,” Jennifer Matter, president of the SEA told King 5 News regarding the memorandum of understanding.

The union is pushing for an increase in pay and smaller class sizes, according to the union’s list of demands. Support for special education students and multilingual programs must also be included in the contract in order for the union to agree.

In preparation of the strike, members of the union met Tuesday to create picket signs, according to King 5 News.

The school announced that there will be a “pick-up” meal plan in order to provide meals to students who need the service. A new school year calendar will also be created to reflect a shorter school year.

“Seattle Public Schools respects our educators and staff,” the school district said in a statement. “We are optimistic the bargaining teams will come to a positive solution for students, staff, and families. Negotiations with SEA are ongoing. We are looking forward to beginning school and welcoming students and staff for the 2022-23 school year.”

Teachers of Kent School District in Kent, Washington, have been on strike since Aug. 25 after the district and Kent Education Association (KEA) failed to reach a contract agreement including higher pay, more mental health services and smaller class sizes, according to the Kent Reporter. Community members in the area have partnered together to provide lunches to students while school is not in session.

SEA, Seattle Public School District, KEA and Kent School District did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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