Results of Tacoma teachers strike vote expected tonight


by KING 5 News

Posted on September 12, 2011 at 9:26 AM

Updated Monday, Sep 12 at 6:22 PM

TACOMA, Wash. --  It will be known in about an hour whether teachers in the Tacoma School District will go on strike Tuesday.

Members of the Tacoma Education Association met at 4:45 p.m. Monday at Mount Tahoma High School to vote on whether to continue working under an expired contract or to strike.

Teachers and the school district met Saturday but still did not come to terms over a new contract agreement.

There are three issues causing friction, including pay, class size and the method in which teachers can be reassigned or transferred within the district.

If teachers vote to strike, the school district says classes will be canceled on Tuesday.

Parents have strong opinions about what is happening.

“These are issues that should have been handled earlier” said Scott Arnestad.

“You don’t become a teacher to make money,” said parent Shannon Ontiveros. “The rest of the world is struggling in this economy. Some parents don’t have jobs and you are going to fight over cost of living increase?”

“It’s stressful,” said Christina Jamerson who works full-time in Kent and had to find child care for her six-year-old daughter.

Jamerson is relieved her neighborhood Boys and Girls Club is expanding its afterschool hours to care for children all-day, in case of a strike.

“It was a huge relief,” said Jamerson.

“We’re going back to summer hours,” said Mark Stares, CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound.

The Pierce County YMCA is also offering all-day child care if there’s a strike.

The teachers union already voted once on a strike authorization. The vote failed by three percent after several teachers missed the meeting and did not vote. This time around, more than 200 teachers who will miss Monday’s meeting have already cast an early ballot.

The last time Tacoma teachers went on strike was in 1978.