Wednesday, November 13, 2019
US flag

Day 3 of a teachers’ strike in Seattle

Seattle teachers went on a contract-related strike Wednesday, Sept 9, which was supposed to be the first day of school for about 52,000 students, the Seattle Times reports. No deal had been struck by Friday, and classes were cancelled for the rest of the week.


The action, which has no legal basis but no legal penalties either, was the first walk-out by teachers in more than 30 years. Washington is one of 13 states where teachers can go on strike, although, unlike Illinois, California, or Pennsylvania, striking by teachers has met with opposition from courts.

Every time a school district has taken a teachers’ union to court in the state to demand the teachers return to work, the court has ruled in favor of the district, having found no legal authority of teachers’ unions in the state to authorize a strike. But because Washington state law prescribes no penalties either, courts have had to enforce their orders by fining teachers for defying a court order, since imposing any legal penalty for strike action would be illegal.

On Sept 11, in honor of Patriot Day, teachers decided to perform community service projects instead of walking picket lines for the third day in a row. Teachers say they haven’t received a cost-of-living pay raise in about six years struggle to live in a city that has quickly become a hub for high-tech industry, which drives up the cost of home ownership and rental.

Wisconsin Gov Scott Walker, known for several strokes of union reform in his home state, criticized the teachers on his presidential campaign website, saying, “They’ve demanded an 18 percent raise, rejecting a generous offer of 9 percent. … The union bosses are betting that if they can make parents and children suffer, they can get what they want. … It’s time to put a stop to this type of organized extortion, just like we did in Wisconsin.”

Speaking Thursday at Ronald Reagan’s alma mater in Eureka, Ill., Mr Walker pledged, if he’s elected, to “stop the government from taking money out of the paychecks of federal employees for political union dues,” thereby protecting “workers from being forced to give money to candidates they don’t support.” Laura Nightengale has the story in the Peoria Journal-Star.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

Recent posts

Mercury makes a transit; next in 2032

A transit of Mercury occurred today and was visible from the US, provided you had sunny skies. It was one of longest possible transits.

On the Naperville BWW racist incident

A racist incident at a Naperville, IL, sports bar indicates that the threads of racism are strong, perhaps as strong as ever.

IL bill could excuse absences to vote

A proposed law in IL could give students up to two hours during the school day so they could vote in the upcoming election.

Loan forgiveness gains some bipartisan support

One Republican from GA, who used to work under Betsy DeVos at the US Education Dept, offers a plan to forgive some student loan debt.

A band teacher is IL Teacher of the Year

IL named a band teacher the 2020 Teacher of the Year on Oct. 19. He individualizes music instruction and shares his work with 1000s.

‘Little Shop of Horrors’ bookends Halloween

Several high schools have decided to add a little spook to their musical stages in this season of Halloween. Music makes it happen.

New IL law ensures inclusion of LGBTQ+

A law will take effect next school year in IL that will require students to study LGBTQ history as part of the social studies curriculum.

MoCo doubles down on summer learning loss

Research is at least equivocal about summer learning loss, but maybe there's something to a new plan in Montgomery County, Md.

Downers North lights up the gym for Beth

Ongoing fundraising drives for a Downers Grove N. volleyball player killed by an intoxicated driver in Feb. are going strong in this western suburb.

High-payroll Yankees don’t make World Series

The World Series begins Tuesday, but some of the playoff games can teach us valuable things about youth sports, investment, etc.

Chicago teacher strike enters calendar week 2

Chicago teachers strike for the 3rd day Monday; the union wants smaller class sizes and support for paraprofessionals.