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Teachers In Two Washington Cities Strike For Funding Increases

Teachers in Seattle have been on strike since Wednesday and Ridgefield schools will close indefinitely until funding disputes between the unions and their school districts is resolved.

The teachers’ strike in Seattle has entered its third day and educators have vowed to rally outside schools every weekday until an agreement is reached on the issue of a 6.5% pay increase that union representatives say is to help teachers deal with the rising cost of living in the city.

Seattle teachers were not the only Washington union to announce that their teachers would be on strike. In Ridgefield, the Ridgefield Education Association, which represents teachers in the district, published a brief statement to their social media feeds explaining that their negotiations with the district had also reached an impasse.

“We were unable to come to an agreement with the district this evening and REA members will begin striking Friday morning until a tentative agreement is reached. While progress has been made toward an agreement, the RSD team has refused to see its available resources,” the union said. According to their statement, the union requested that the district increase funding for “special education students, more counselors for mental health supports, and a better program for student interventions.”

“None of us want to be on strike, but ignoring our dysfunctional intervention program, unsafe staffing levels and the need for more counselors when the district has the money to do something about it is unacceptable,” REA co-president Elizabeth Stamp said. “We are united with the Ridgefield community demanding what our students deserve and we’re calling on the district to do the right thing.”

In a separate statement, the school district addressed the strike, informing parents that, “despite making progress, we unfortunately did not come to an agreement on the terms of a new contract and have been informed by the teachers’ union that they will be going on strike.” Schools in Ridgefield will be closed and school-sponsored services like free lunches will not be available.

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