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Port Angeles Paraeducators on strike April 8

School district fails to reach a deal on a new contract with paraeducators


The following is from the Port Angeles Paraeducators Association (PAPEA):

PORT ANGELES, Wash. (April 8, 2024) — Instead of starting the first day of classes after spring break on Monday, members of the Port Angeles Paraeducators Association (PAPEA) will be on picket lines in front of their schools. Certified teachers, who are members of the Port Angeles Education Association (PAEA), voted to honor the picket line, so they will also not be working on Monday.

PAPEA members picket on Sunday, April 7 in Port Angeles.

Port Angeles school officials and PAPEA members have been bargaining to reach a new contract since last year and paras have been working without a contract since the beginning of the school year. Negotiations have continued through a mediator from the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC), and in February, members voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike if no agreement is reached by April 8.

District administration sent word that they were done negotiating for the day at 5:05 p.m. Sunday.

Union members will be picketing at all Port Angeles school sites from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday. Negotiations continue Monday at 10 a.m.

“Paras really want to be in school,” said PAPEA President Rebecca Winters, who is a paraeducator at Hamilton Elementary. “Unfortunately, the district refuses to settle a fair contract.”

A key issue is a legislatively funded 3.7% cost-of-living (COLA) increase that paraeducators have asked for and that the district has repeatedly refused to offer. Certified classroom teachers got this COLA increase in their latest contract.

Port Angeles Paraeducators Association (PAPEA) is made up of 130 paraeducators in the Port Angeles Public Schools. It 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.

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