Teacher Union Officials Call Washington Strikes

Teacher union officials in multiple Washington state districts have forced teachers to make the decision:  strike or cross the picket line.  Union president Larry Delaney makes it clear teachers want to put students first.  Victoria Cavaliere has the story on reuters.com

Nearly 3,000 teachers in nine school districts were taking part in the strikes, which forced the cancellation of classes in two districts and a half day at a third, said Washington Education Association spokesman Rich Wood.

Wednesday’s walkout was the first in a staggered series of actions by Washington state teachers, with smaller strikes planned for Friday and next week. Other districts, including in Tacoma and the 5,000 members of the Seattle chapter of the union, are voting this week on whether to stage their own walkout in the coming days.

At a rally in Arlington, about an hour’s drive north of Seattle, teachers who left class for the picket line said they wanted to send a message to lawmakers in Olympia considering a public education budget of about $1.3 billion.

“It’s simply not enough,” said Larry Delaney, a math teacher at Lakewood High School and the district’s union president. “Benefits, pay. That’s an issue. But what resonates with our members is kids first,” he said.