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Tacoma Teachers’ Strike Ends; Wins 14% Raise

September 21, 2018

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

TACOMA, Wash.—Teachers in Tacoma voted almost unanimously Sept. 14 to ratify a contract that will give them raises averaging 14.4%, and returned to work Sept. 17, ending their seven-day strike. The vote was 2,022-23 in favor. The district had offered a 3.1% raise before the strike, and 7.5% after it started. The deal will increase starting salaries from $45,500 to $54,308 a year, and teachers with 20 years of experience and a doctorate will get raises of more than $17,000, bringing the maximum up to $108,529. Professional technical employees, such as maintenance workers, will get a 14% raise, and office professionals 19%.  “That’s life-changing,” high-school math teacher Grant Ruby told the Tacoma News Tribune. “We had to concede a few things, obviously. I don’t feel that any of the things we conceded are unacceptable.” The main concession was that Tacoma teachers and the Washington Education Association agreed to urge the state legislature to fix funding changes it enacted in 2017 and 2018. The Tacoma district says those changes were unfair and would bring its deficit up to $38 million for the 2019-2020 school year, even before the raises are added. Read more

September 21, 2018

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