No school: Tacoma teachers vote to go on strike

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on September 12, 2011 at 6:21 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 12 at 10:11 PM

TACOMA, Wash. -- The Tacoma Education Association voted to go on strike Monday night, canceling school for the Tacoma School District Tuesday.

Members of the TEA met at Mount Tahoma High School Monday evening to vote on whether to continue working under an expired contract or to strike. Eighty-seven percent of the TEA voted to go on strike.

The strike centers around three issues, including pay, class size and the method in which teachers can be reassigned or transferred within the district.

Teachers errupted into cheers when the vote tally was announced. They immediately lined up to receive signs for a picket line expected to form tomorrow at 8:00 a.m.

"I don't want to go on strike, pretty upset about that," said middle school teacher Kim Williams. "I'm upset with the district right now. We have a lot of misuse of monies. When our administrators get a five percent raise, and we're told to take a cut, which I understand, but we're not asking for a raise."

The strike also means all 28,000 students in the district will not be going to school tomorrow. That leaves some parents scrambling to find child care.

“It’s stressful,” said Christina Jamerson who works full-time in Kent and had to find child care for her six-year-old daughter.

Jamerson is relieved her neighborhood Boys and Girls Club is expanding its after school hours to care for children all-day due to the strike.

“It was a huge relief,” said Jamerson.

“We’re going back to summer hours,” said Mark Stares, CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound.

The Pierce County YMCA is also offering all-day child care if there’s a strike.

The teachers union already voted once on a strike authorization. The vote failed by three percent after several teachers missed the meeting and did not vote. This time around, more than 200 teachers who will miss Monday’s meeting have already cast an early ballot.

The last time Tacoma teachers went on strike was in 1978.

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