Connect with us


Camas educators ratify deal to end strike

Strike continues in Vancouver; school district threatens teachers’ pay


CAMAS, Wash. (Sept. 8, 2023) — The more than 450 members of the Camas Education Association (CEA) voted overwhelmingly Thursday to ratify the tentative agreement reached between the union and the Camas School District late Wednesday night. Classes are scheduled to begin today.

CEA members review the details of the tentative agreement at Camas High School before voting to ratify it on Thursday.

“I’m excited to see my kids for the first time and to welcome the ninth graders to the high school,” said Ruhiyyih Wittwer, an English teacher at Camas High School. “To have school delayed was hard, and they’re probably going to be extra nervous. I have a very welcoming environment, and my co-teacher and I will do a lot of uplifting and fun work.”

After six days on picket lines, the district and the educators were able to make an agreement on class sizes, equitable funding for student programs, and teacher cost-of-living adjustments. Negotiations began in May.

The CEA thanked the community who showed up on the picket lines, spoke out in the media and school board meetings, and created a general sense of support and appreciation for their educators.

Meanwhile, members of the Evergreen Education Association in Vancouver, Wash., remain on strike. The following was released Thursday by the EEA:


Evergreen Public Schools threatens to withhold educators’ pay


VANCOUVER, Wash. (Sept. 8, 2023) — Evergreen Public Schools (EPS) Supt. John Boyd has threatened to withhold pay from striking Evergreen Education Association (EEA) educators — and nonstriking Public School Employees of Washington (PSE) support staff — if EEA members are not back at work by Monday, Sept. 11. This is a violation of both the collective bargaining agreement and of wage law.

“This a scare tactic designed to divide us, because district management can see that we are strongly behind each other and that our community supports us,” said EEA President Kristie Peak.

The collective bargaining agreement says that each certificated employee shall be paid one twelfth (1/12) of their annual salary on the last working day of each month.

The district’s own website explains that because schools are required to provide 180 days of instruction for students, and “thus, a strike will not impact a teacher’s income over the school year or the number of working days.”

Also, while the strike began on what would have been the first student day of the year, union members had already worked several days preparing their classrooms and attending professional development sessions. Failure to pay for that time already worked would violate federal wage law.

Union members were filing grievances on behalf of all affected members, and some were concerned that the district’s reckless actions could incur large fines for those violations of law.

EPS officials and educators in the EEA have been bargaining to reach a new contract for this school year since March 21. Negotiations continue today.

Evergreen educators’ key issues are:

  • More supports for students with special needs    
  • Time for educators to plan and consult, which is frequently lost because of the shortage of substitute teachers     
  • Adequate staffing to support a safe, academic learning environment for all students   
  • Promised cost-of-living adjustment to help attract and retain enough educators    

Evergreen Education Association is made up of 1,500 classroom teachers in the Evergreen Public Schools. Evergreen EA is affiliated with the statewide Washington Education Association and the National Education Association, both of which represent K-12 teachers, support staff and higher-education employees. 

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!