Tacoma teacher trouble

By Terrah Short

Tacoma teachers called a strike on Monday September 12th in response to inadequate decisions made by the Tacoma School Board.  The 3-year contract for these teachers ended on August 31 and the teachers wanted to discuss new terms. Of those terms were class sizes, pay and seniority. After many unsuccessful days the teachers gave an 87 percent vote to strike.

The strike itself had some 1,900 teachers in its ranks. Pierce County superior court judge, Bryan Chushcoff, had already ordered for the teachers to return to work but the strike continued.  The next court hearing was scheduled for September 27 and may occur if the judge finds it necessary.

This strike put about 28,000 students on the street.  Parents scrambled for daycare, but with so many kids parents needed to call ahead of time to see if the daycare was open.  Some older students joined in the strike or took babysitting jobs to help parents. Stephany Ngoun, a Tacoma student said, “I agree with the teachers.”  Another student went so far as to say, “You’re adults, grow up,” in response to the strike.

The strike means that students will have to go five days into summer vacation in order to make up for the days of school lost during the strike.

On September 21, Governor Gregoire called for both sides of the issue to meet at the table and come to an agreement.  “If no deal is reached by 3 pm this afternoon, both the district and the union will report to my office and stay until their differences are reconciled and the school doors reopen,” Gregoire said in a statement issued that morning.

September 22, the teachers took their vote on the new contract and 98.9 percent of teachers voted to end the strike and for school to resume Friday, September 23.