Tukwila teachers vote to authorize strike amid contract dispute

TUKWILA, Wash. -- Teachers in Tukwila voted to authorize a strike beginning later this week if they can't come to a contract agreement with the school district.

The Tukwila Education Association said Tuesday that the vote passed with 94 percent approval. TEA says teachers are paid significantly less than others in surrounding districts.

"The school board needs to invest in the great educators who shape and nurture Tukwila students every day," TEA President Brian Seigel said in a release.

The school year is scheduled to begin Wednesday, Sept. 4, for the Tukwila School District. If no contract agreement with the district is reached, the strike would start Friday.

Last year, teachers in Tukwila went on strike for several days before coming to an agreement with the district.

“They really need to do what’s right for these teachers, to give them what they need to help these students,” said Tammy Howard, who has two grandchildren in the district. “I pray that there’s no strike because last year it was horrible. Kids had to wait and then they had to make it up. That’s not right.”

The Tukwila School District released the following statement on Tuesday:

“We truly appreciate and will support our staff as much as the Tukwila School District can reasonably sustain. The District appreciates that the bargaining teams are continuing to negotiate in good faith this year. Unlike some of our surrounding school districts, the change in local levy collections was proportionately more impactful and Tukwila is on the negative end of state and local revenue.”

Both the district and TEA say they’re hopeful the two sides can come to an agreement that will not interrupt the school schedule.