Tumwater teachers overwhelmingly approve new contract

TUMWATER, Wash. -- After striking for more than two weeks, teachers in Tumwater are heading back to class. The Tumwater Education Association announced teachers approved a new contract Monday morning with 98 percent approval.

The tentative agreement with the Tumwater School District was first reached Sunday. Teachers had been on strike since September 1.

Students will start class on Tuesday, September 18. Preschool will begin on Wednesday.

The Tumwater School District said the new agreement will give teachers a 16.7 percent pay increase for the 2018-19 school year. The following year, teachers will receive a 2.4 percent pay increase.

Last week, a Thurston County superior court judge sided with the Tumwater School District and said the teachers' strike and the delayed start of school has caused "sufficient harm" to the district and the students it serves, particularly special-needs students.

The teachers were ordered to end their strike and return to work, but no timetable was set up and bargaining between both sides continued.

The school district filed a temporary injunction against the Tumwater Education Association five days after teachers voted to strike over salaries.