Seattle Teachers' Strike Enters Second Day
Students are out of class for a second day in Seattle Public Schools as teachers continue their strike.
The union and district have agreed to meet with a mediator Thursday but have no plans to return to the bargaining table.
Spirits were high at picket lines Wednesday.
Teachers marching on Rainier Avenue in front of Franklin High School got plenty of honks of support from passing motorists.
At Orca K-8 in Columbia City, language arts and theater teacher Donte Felder told fellow picketers it was going to be a long day - so they might want to wrap their sign handles with duct tape.
“I got, like, three splinters - and there’s no workers’ compensation,” Felder said.
Felder said the district’s proposals have all been disrespectful of the work teachers do.
“I spend probably about two hours a day after school doing theater with students for free, because I believe in it," he said.
But he says the district’s latest proposal would effectively force teachers to do unpaid work.
“Absolutely not. Not going to happen. I will march until my feet bleed until we get our fair contract.”
Union officials say the district will have to dramatically improve its contract offer for there to be any progress at the bargaining table.
At district headquarters, spokeswoman Stacy Howard told reporters that the district is eager to find a solution.
But she said it has to be fiscally responsible in order to serve students long-term.
“The SPS bargaining team is ready to continue talks day, night, weekends, as we have been throughout the entire bargaining process,” she said.
Despite the school board’s vote to authorize the superintendent to seek an injunction ordering teachers back to work —
“At this point no legal action is planned as we are hopeful for a swift resolution so our teachers and students can begin the school year,” she said.
The strike has delayed school for about 53,000 students and forced many parents to scramble for child care.
Irving Damian was at the Columbia City Farmers Market with his parents. He’s going into sixth grade at Mercer Middle School.
He translated for his mother, Catalina Garcia, who said she’s sorry that students are missing school.
“But in a way it’s important for teachers to be heard,” she said.
Damian said he was disappointed that school is delayed.
“Since I’m starting a new school I want to experience my classes and get used to the way of my new school,” he said.
It’s not clear yet when he’ll get to do that.