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Vancouver educators authorize strike to address school safety

Vancouver Association of Education Support Professionals say VPS staffing crisis puts students at risk


The following is from the VAESP:

VANCOUVER, Wash. (Oct. 29, 2021) — Members of the Vancouver Association of Education Support Professionals (VAESP) overwhelmingly voted Tuesday to authorize their leadership to call a strike if they deem it necessary in the face of continued refusal by Vancouver Public Schools leaders to offer a fair contract that addresses the staffing crisis and pay issues that have resulted in unsafe conditions for staff and students in Vancouver schools.

Members, who voted 89 percent in favor of the motion, shared the harrowing conditions they are dealing with daily and the escalating danger and risk that staff and students are facing. The staffing crisis means in some buildings special education students and students showing COVID symptoms are not being properly supervised. Overwhelmingly VAESP members said they do not have the staffing they need to do their jobs properly, and they have had enough.

“District leaders are in a financial position to provide students with support from the caring, quality educators they need to succeed,” said Barb Plymate, VAESP president. “We are united in our commitment to demand what is right for Vancouver students and our refusal to accept a contract that will leave school staff underpaid, overworked and our schools understaffed.”

This vote does not mean members are on strike. It gives VAESP leaders the power to call a strike. It is past time for VPS leaders to offer a contract that includes fair compensation and ensures safe staffing levels. The district has the money to do the right thing for Vancouver students.

VAESP members have been working without a contract since the start of the school year. The VAESP bargaining team has a bargaining session scheduled Nov. 3rd, 2021 with a state mediator and the district team.

VAESP represents secretarial, technology support specialist, clerical, paraeducator, braille transcriber, and aquatics employees.

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