NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate provides the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Governor Gregoire steps up to mediate negotiations to end Tacoma teacher strike

After sev­en days with­out school for thou­sands of Taco­ma stu­dents, Gov. Chris Gre­goire has stepped up to medi­ate talks between Taco­ma Pub­lic Schools and the Taco­ma Edu­ca­tion Association.

After fail­ing to reach an agree­ment today, the gov­er­nor called for school dis­trict offi­cials and mem­bers of the teach­ers union to nego­ti­ate in her office. Mem­bers of both sides filed into her office this after­noon between 2 and 3 p.m.

Accord­ing to Rich Wood, the spokesman for the union, both sides were close to a set­tle­ment when the school dis­trict aban­doned fur­ther nego­ti­a­tions. He told the Taco­ma News Tri­bune, “It threw our team for a loop. They tru­ly believed we were close to set­tle­ment. I think that’s still true from our per­spec­tive this morning.”

Gov. Gre­goire does not have direct over­sight over the state’s school dis­tricts, how­ev­er, she has been putting pres­sure on the two sides to reach an agree­ment so that Taco­ma’s youth can return to school.

Taco­ma Pub­lic Schools is the third largest school dis­trict in the state.  Some of the main issues that the school dis­trict and teacher’s union are hag­gling over include pay, class size, and teacher transfers.

The Taco­ma Edu­ca­tion Asso­ci­a­tion is defy­ing a court order for them to return to work. Accord­ing to Forbes, Pierce Coun­ty Supe­ri­or Court Judge, Bryan Chush­coff, has been con­sid­er­ing per­mit­ting the school dis­trict to replace teach­ers who strike. The next court hear­ing is expect­ed to be on Tues­day, but if a set­tle­ment can be reached soon, an emer­gency order to that effect would not be needed.

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