Seattle teachers approve labor contract, vote to end strike

A rescheduling will be needed on the missed six days of school, which the district informed might prolong the school year or curtail midyear vacation breaks.


Union leaders have said the new contract ushers in a “new era” in which public school employees can use contract talks to push for systemic changes beyond the “traditional” fodder of pay increases and benefits packages.

An estimated 3,000 teachers turned out for the vote, which is more than a thousand that turned up at Benaroya Hall earlier this month when teachers unanimously voted to strike, according to Seattle Education Association Vice President Phyllis Campano.

Teachers in Seattle on Sunday ratified a new three-year contract putting an end to a labor dispute that included a week-long strike and a series of marathon bargaining sessions overseen by state mediators.

Seattle teachers announced Tuesday that they reached a tentative agreement with the city’s school district, but said they’re remaining on picket lines pending the deal’s approval. The union represents 5,000 teachers and other employees in the school district.

The union leadership voted Tuesday to suspend the strike and recommended that the union’s 5,000 members approve the deal.

Attendees said members of the bargaining team received a standing ovation at the meeting.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a “no” vote in the general assembly, but I do think there will be a “no” voice, and that voice will be significant”, he said.

Teachers have worked without a formal contract since the start of September and initially asked for a raise of 21% over the three years but lowered that dramatically in accepting 9.5%.

Teachers have been working without a contract since the end of August. “We want the kids in school but we need a fair deal to do that”, said First Grade teacher, Madeline Lawrence in an interview with Channel 5.

“For those who have been feeling like they might say no, we really want them to know we have their back, because that’s a hard decision to make”, said Balcom, whose daughter attends Jane Addams Middle School.

Muto said he’s watching the vote, too. The final vote requires a simple majority – 50% + 1′.


The teachers had demanded student “equity teams” in every school to reduce the disparity in suspensions and other discipline that falls disproportionaterly on African American, Latino, Native American Indian and other students of color.