Connect with us


Senate panel’s amended bill attacks teachers

Late night maneuver would cut teacher pay, undermine bargaining rights


OLYMPIA (April 5, 2019) — In the wee morning hours Wednesday morning, without any prior notice, the Senate Ways and Means Committee took up SB 5313 “Concerning school levies” and approved an amendment that would undermine public school teachers’ collective bargaining rights and cut their pay.

“This is unacceptable to Washington’s working families, and it should be unacceptable to you as well,” reads a letter sent Thursday to senators from dozens of unions — representing both public- and private-sector workers — that urges opposition to the amended SB 5313. “Collective bargaining rights are fundamental to our movement, and to our communities. They ensure fair, community standard wages, and underpin the middle class. By removing these rights, 5313 will erode teachers’ ability to secure fair wages over time.”

TAKE A STAND — The Washington Education Association (WEA) has set up an Action Alert page to contact your legislators and urge them to oppose the amended version of SB 5313. Please send this message today!

If SB 5313 were to go into effect, it would reduce teacher average salaries by more than $5,000 and limit teachers’ ability to negotiate salary increases for increased responsibilities with their school district.

“Suggesting a cut to educator pay in the time of a teacher shortage is a terrible policy decision and it’s irresponsible,” said WEA President Kim Mead. “Our state had just begun to make progress in efforts to attract and keep great teachers on the job with last year’s salary gains. Cutting pay — and our ability to negotiate terms of employment with our employers — is an unacceptable step backward.”

Sen. Lisa Wellman (D-Mercer Is.), who sponsored the original bill to restore levy flexibility for school districts published a letter disavowing the amendments, agreeing with labor unions’ interpretation of the impact the bill would have, and promising to use the remaining time in Olympia to find a levy solution that works.

The Seattle Times is reporting that the anti-teacher amendments were an attempt by conservative Democrats to kill Wellman’s underlying bill.

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!