Judge orders Tacoma teachers back to work, will they go?

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by KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on September 14, 2011 at 11:35 AM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 14 at 7:53 PM

TACOMA, Wash. -- A judge approved a restraining order ordering teachers in the Tacoma School District to return to work. Classes will resume Thursday.

Whether or not teachers will be in their classrooms Thursday is not clear.

The Tacoma Education Association (TEA) released a press release late Wednesday night saying Tacoma teachers are meeting at their regular picket lines as scheduled Thursday morning.

 

"As we've said all along, the settlement has to occur at the bargaining table. Negotiations are scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Thursday. We urge the Tacoma School Board and President Kurt Miller to direct their negotiators to settle a fair contract with Tacoma teachers as soon as possible," said TEA President Andy Coons.

Now, the district is starting classes two hours late for Tacoma's 28,000 students Thursday in order to give itself the time to figure out a plan 'B' should teachers defy the judge's order and not return to class.

 

"The most significant thing was that the harm was being done to children,” said Art Jarvis, Tacoma Schools Superintendent.

During the Superior Court hearing Wednesday on the Tacoma School District's request for an injunction to order the teachers to work, Pierce County Judge Brian Chushcoff ordered the teachers back to school.

Judge Chushcoff will have the two sides back in court on Friday to get an update to find out if the union members are complying with his order.

Classes had been canceled for Tacoma's 28,000 students since the strike began Tuesday. Strike issues include teacher pay, class size and the way the district's teachers are transferred and reassigned. Tacoma teachers had been working without a contract since school started Sept. 1.

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