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MOMS TALK: How Do You Feel About The Local Teacher Strike?

Tacoma Schools went on strike Tuesday. They are fighting for language in the contract about teacher transfers, reassignments, budget cuts that affect teacher pay and class size.

The Tuesday after Labor Day school began without a hitch in University Place.

Bus riders figured out their stops, lunches were bought in the cafeteria, and homework assigments began to roll out. Just as fall seemed to put us all on the school schedule, our neighbors in Tacoma school district face a school stoppage.

This newly voted teacher strike began Tuesday morning. They are taking it to the judge this afternoon to determine if the strike is against the law and demanding the teachers go back to work.

(Click here to read The News Tribune's latest report, which states a judge issued a restraining order on the strike, which means school can resume Thursday)

I thought we could consider this issue as Mom's Talk this week.

The teachers want fair pay, small class sizes and to limit the abilities of reassignments from principals. They claim they have been at the bargaining table every day since school started. The union felt placed in the corner and felt this strike was the only option left to try to get the attention of the district.

The district claims that all employees are still under contract and in violation of it. It also says that state law prohibits the union from striking. It states that the students who need free lunch, special needs and other district employees - bus drivers, cafeteria workers, etc. - are the real losers in a work stoppage.  The district feels it has offered a fare contract and desire the teachers to return to work.

What are your thoughts?

Do you understand the teachers' needs?

Are the students really the ones caught in the middle?

Why couldn't the district and teachers union work this out over the summer when they all knew the Aug. 31 contract date?

What would you do if we faced a school stoppage in UP?  How much would it disrupt your family schedule?

Would you support the teachers and enjoy an extra week off (maybe not since the weather seems to have turned a corner).

Does this neighboring teacher strike affect us in UP?  Several students attend the SODA school of the Arts from our district.

We are lucky to have a strong school district, involved parents, and willing teachers to help our students begin school again this fall to build their educational foundation.

Jackie Fender September 15, 2011 at 01:30 AM
Now that school has been ordered to open, parents are left with the decision, make their children cross the picket line to sit in a classroom that likely will lack the teacher unfil contracts are negotiated or keep them out of school and support our teachers. It's completely fair to request no pay cuts and one less student per class. After all if we are paying our teachers poverty level wages and expecting them to teach larger classes are our children getting the education they deserve and need?
Kirk Parker September 15, 2011 at 04:55 AM
Jackie, Your closing sentence would be fine IF we actually were paying teachers at "poverty level wages", but we aren't--so it's not.
Jackie Fender September 15, 2011 at 05:47 PM
Perhaps poverty level is an overexaggeration but it's about what? $50K yearly or so? I know bartenders who make more than that. It surely isn't an appropriate wage for a college educated individual who is responsible for helping to educate our children. Especially if they are expected to educate more than 30 at a time. I still stand by my statement otherwise.
Christie Anderson September 15, 2011 at 06:21 PM
I have no idea what teacher salaries are like but where I work my gross annual income is below poverty level by today's standards....and that is at full time status. I had to go "The Waltons" route to make ends meet (meaning living with family, which helps them as well, btw). While I empathize with teachers who do not get paid enough to live on, a part of me feels it's unfair to the students I feel are being "held for ransom" in a teacher's strike. This is one of the reasons I have always liked the voucher system.

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