• Some teachers still bargaining with districts as start of school nears

    By: KIRO 7 News Staff


    LACEY, Wash. - Teachers across the state are still bargaining with their school districts as the school year starts for thousands of students on Wednesday.

    Teachers in Mercer Island rallied Sunday ahead of contract negotiations, and a tentative deal has been reached with their district.

    But negotiations are ongoing in the North Thurston County School District.

    On the Labor Day holiday, teachers were outside district headquarters in Lacey as their union negotiators worked to secure higher salaries.

    "There's just no way for us to live that's not paycheck-to-paycheck with my salary. It's been a long time coming,” said new teacher Molly Lynch.

    Lynch is married and has two children, and as a new teacher, she says student loans for her job have been crushing.

    Educators in the district hope they receive a raise from McCleary decision funds somewhere over 10 percent.

    “The people who are in charge of teaching our young kids, those are the ones that we need to pay attention to,” said Lynch.

    Union reps say school in the North Thurston district will start Wednesday, despite some other districts that have gone on strike, but it’s still not out of the realm of possibilities for North Thurston teachers.

    “I'm hoping we solve the money piece today. I would love at the end of the day to say, 'OK, we've got you a salary schedule that you'd be proud of,’” said Ray Nelson with the North Thurston Education Association.

    Meanwhile, teachers on Mercer Island will be voting on their contract Tuesday afternoon.

    In Tacoma, an agreement is still up in the air. Teachers are mediating Monday and will vote on whether to strike on Tuesday.

    Tumwater teachers are officially on strike.

    The Olympian reports their contract expired over the weekend and no new deal has been reached.          

    Another bargaining session is scheduled for Monday, and classes are set to start on Wednesday.

    Tukwila teachers will be on strike for the first day of school this week. Currently, only the first day of school on Wednesday is canceled.

    The school district released a statement saying, in part, "it is the full priority of the board to come to a contract agreement."

    A spokesperson for the Tukwila Teachers Association told KIRO 7 teachers have their classrooms ready and don't want to be striking, but said, "The district has pushed us to this point."

    The Seattle school district has avoided a strike, for now.

    The school district and the teachers union reached a tentative agreement for this school year.

    Teachers will get a 10.5 percent pay increase.

    The final vote on the agreement is this Saturday.

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