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Teachers Go on Strike in Washington State

10:42 AM, Sep 13, 2011   |    comments
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Teachers Go on Strike in Washington State

TACOMA, WA -- Thousands of Tacoma, Washington, teachers are walking off the job and hitting the picket lines Tuesday for day one of a teachers strike.

There will be no first day of class for 28,000 students in the Tacoma School District Tuesday after 87 percent of the Tacoma Education Association teachers voted to go on strike Monday evening.

Around 2,400 teachers and staff members will be striking.

Some 100 teachers hit the pickets early Tuesday, arriving at Lincoln High School at 6 a.m.

Members of the TEA met at Mount Tacoma High School Monday evening to vote on whether to continue working under an expired contract or to strike.

Eighty-seven percent of the TEA voted to go on strike.

The strike centers around three issues, including pay, class size and the method in which teachers can be reassigned or transferred within the district.

Teachers erupted into cheers when the vote tally was announced.

They immediately lined up to receive signs for a picket line expected to form tomorrow at 8:00 a.m.

"I don't want to go on strike, pretty upset about that," said middle school teacher Kim Williams.

"I'm upset with the district right now. We have a lot of misuse of monies. When our administrators get a five percent raise, and we're told to take a cut, which I understand, but we're not asking for a raise."

With all 28,000 students in the district not going to school Tuesday, that leaves some parents scrambling to find child care options.

"It's stressful," said Christina Jamerson who works full-time in Kent and had to find child care for her six-year-old daughter.

Jamerson is relieved her neighborhood Boys and Girls Club is expanding its after school hours to care for children all-day due to the strike.

"It was a huge relief," said Jamerson.

"We're going back to summer hours," said Mark Stares, CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound.

The Pierce County YMCA is also offering all-day child care if there's a strike.

The teachers union already voted once on a strike authorization.

The vote failed by three percent after several teachers missed the meeting and did not vote.

This time around, more than 200 teachers who will miss Monday's meeting have already cast an early ballot.

The last time Tacoma teachers went on strike was in 1978.


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