UPDATE (March 29) — Statement from SEIU 925: After 18 hours in mediation last Friday and another full session Monday, SEIU 925 Longview classifieds achieved a tentative agreement with the Longview School District. We had been bargaining and in mediation for over 11 months. Our members, the community, our union, the teachers and secretaries in the district, AWPPW and IBEW, our Central Labor Council, the state Labor Council, and so many others stood in solidarity with us, it was pretty incredible. We will be sharing the contract with our members after spring break. The bargaining team strongly encourages a yes vote. We knew that to fill the many empty positions at the district we needed to fight for fair wages and longevity steps. Each position filled now equals more students served, and more support for other staff and our facilities.
UPDATE (March 28) — SEIU 925: We are thrilled to announce that Longview has reached a tentative agreement! All remaining issues were resolved today in mediation. Great work Longview!
UPDATE (March 26, 2022) — The SEIU 925 bargaining team at Longview schools sent the following message to members early Saturday morning: “After almost 18 hours in mediation we are happy to share that we are super close to a full agreement and a new contract. There are still a few issues on the table so we’ve agreed to meet again Monday. Purple up!”
Longview schools staff frustrated and fed up
SEIU 925 board authorizes strike vote after nearly a year of ‘insulting’ bargaining
LONGVIEW, Wash. (March 25, 2022) — In 2018, the SEIU 925 chapter at Longview public schools made history as the first to go on strike in SEIU 925’s decades-long history. Unless Longview School District administrators change their ways, they could face another one.
After nearly a year of “frustrating, even insulting” bargaining sessions with the Longview School District over renewing their union contract, the SEIU 925 executive board held an emergency meeting Wednesday night to authorize a strike vote for the Longview chapter.
“Bus drivers, paraeducators, nutrition services staff, tech, custodians, and other essential school staff have helped create a safe learning environment for students throughout the COVID pandemic,” the union reports. “Other school districts in the region have bargained competitive contracts for district employees. But the Longview School District is doing little to recruit or retain qualified, dedicated staff: there are often 30 vacant positions waiting to be filled, which equates to unmet student needs and creates short staffing and unfair workloads for remaining staff.”
The SEIU 925 bargaining team has been negotiating with the district since April 2021, and then in mediation since January. They have another mediation session today (Friday, March 25) and if there is no progress, the union will meet to discuss next steps, possibly including a strike vote.
In a message sent to rank-and-file SEIU 925 members at Longview schools on Thursday, the bargaining team wrote:
“We are focused on participating fully tomorrow in mediation and as we have since our first session with the District in April 2021, and every session since, we are going to work very hard at getting the best contract/settlement possible for our membership… We have been focusing since last April on getting much-needed positions filled, pushing for competitive wages that allow the District to retain and recruit our classifieds, especially those that serve our most vulnerable students. Every unfilled position is an unmet need for students, staff, and our facilities.”
“Again, we are remaining hopeful that we can settle tomorrow,” the message concludes. “In the event we don’t, we will definitely be having a UNION meeting next week to share next steps.”
Multiple other unions representing Longview school workers and others in the community have sent letters to Longview School District and Superintendent Dan Zorn supporting SEIU 925 members and urging administrators to negotiate a fair contract for these essential workers. The Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers, Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Central Labor Council, IBEW Local 48 and the Longview Education Association (LEA), which represents teachers in the district, have all urged for better wages for the SEIU 925 workers.
“Our existing staff is already overburdened, and without a significant (wage) increase, current employees will continue to leave to find better wages and working conditions to support their families,” wrote LEA President Jerry Forsman. “You are doing a huge disservice to your employees, to our students, and to our community as a whole. On behalf of these families, and on behalf of our co-workers at SEIU 925, we ask that you provide a substantial wage increase for your classified staff.”
With this week’s strike vote authorization, Longview members know that SEIU 925 members and other unions across the state will once again have their backs and full support if they choose to take a strike vote.
Yesterday Longview bargaining team members went on the radio show Building Bridges with Teresa Purcell to discuss how our students and community at large benefit when the school district invests in retaining and recruiting school employees.
— SEIU Local 925 (@SEIU925) March 23, 2022
SEIU 925 unites 17,000 people in Washington who work in education from early learning through higher education, as well as members who work in local government and nonprofits. We work together to provide quality education for children and students, to ensure that education remains a state priority, and to strengthen our workforce. We provide quality public services to our communities across the state.