Puyallup educators have overwhelmingly voted to go on strike beginning Wednesday, Sept. 5, if a tentative contract agreement is not reached. 1,200 members were present and voted 98 percent in favor of a strike.
The strike authorization comes after months of bargaining and where Puyallup educators have called for competitive pay raises. Puyallup educators remain resolute in finding an agreement.
A rally Monday saw a packed park of supporters that called on the board to compensate teachers in Puyallup at rates that are comparable to area schools.
“Our proposals keep our teachers competitively compensation instead of being at the bottom of pay in the region,” Puyallup Education Association President Karen McNamara said. “More importantly, what we are asking for is sustainable for the future of our district.”
“If we want to attract and keep caring, qualified educators for our students, we need to provide them with competitive, professional compensation.”
Puyallup, like other districts, is receiving a net increase of millions of dollars in coming years because of the Supreme Court’s McCleary decision, which ordered the state to increase K-12 funding. At least $2 billion of the new funding is for educator salaries.
“Puyallup administrators have no excuse for not negotiating the significant pay raises we need,” McNamara said. Educators in some 30 school districts across Washington already have negotiated double-digit percentage pay raises this summer. Without higher pay, Puyallup will lose good teachers to nearby districts that have negotiated substantial pay raises for their teachers.
Classes in Puyallup are scheduled to start Sept. 5.
The Puyallup School District has some 22,000 students, and the Puyallup Education Association represents nearly 1300 certificated teachers and educators.