No Tenatative Agreement in Sight

KEA members should come to the General Membership meeting tonight, 5 p.m., Kentlake High School, to hear the latest bargaining update and to vote on our next action. No tentative agreement for a new contract is in sight. On Tuesday, district negotiators told the KEA Bargaining Team they didn’t want to talk about, or even reply to, several key issues of our members.

Negotiations by the Numbers:

27,000: Kent students in overcrowded classrooms
1,800: teachers and specialists who want to make a difference
126: days since negotiations began
24/7: KEA’s willingness to negotiate
18: days the district has been willing to negotiate
0: Plans from the district to provide an immediate or long-term solution to overcrowded classes
0: Recognition that workload must be addressed seriously before we have a settlement
0: Willingness by the district to hear and understand, even on the last day of bargaining, that teachers will stand up for issues that impact our classrooms and our students.

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8 Responses to “No Tenatative Agreement in Sight”

  1. Retired Teacher Says:

    A word of caution….impressions speak louder than words….you need to earn respect, not demand it.

    First I want to say I totally support what Kent is attempting to do for the children of the Kent schools. I was a teacher for over 30 years, my husband was in education, and my three grown children are teachers, but I was extremely upset with what I saw when visiting relatives in Kent on Thursday. Teachers were lining the streets dressed in beach attire, eating and drinking, waving and shouting at passing cars, and basically DEMONSTRATING unprofessional behavior. I believe the cause is valid, but I am afraid the message may be lost in the impression that is being made. I might think twice if I saw my doctor, attorney, or pastor resorting to this means of communication. It might be fun, but I think it is totally sending the wrong message.

    • Kent Teacher Says:

      I appreciate all that your family has done for our youth. I only wish you could have joined our three pregnant, VERY pregnant, teachers at our school before voicing your opinion in regards to clothing and our behavior. 80+ degrees – put them or anyone else in school attire? Seriously now! Some of us were trying to avoid the sun because of skin cancer concerns. Sorry we didn’t meet your professional standards.

      Eating and drinking? Have you ever gone 7.5 hours without doing either? What about bathroom access? That was tricky since we’re not allowed on school grounds. Come on out and join us and then voice an opinion from the trenches. Teachers are fun people – stand around for 7.5 hours and see how exciting that is – we enjoyed and supported all of the honks and waves – I think that it was important that we acknowledged those people. Sorry you saw that as unprofessional.

      Many thanks to the community members who understood how hot it was out there and brought us water and popsicles to keep us hydrated. They seemed to recognize that wearing what we normally wear in the classroom was certainly unexpected in that sort of weather. Don’t forget, school isn’t actually supposed to start until August 31st – we have been out there even though we’re not officially teaching any children. Give us a break.

  2. cedervalleyteach Says:

    WOW I so agree! And I know a number of teachers who didn’t go today for the same reason. A strike is very serious, we are making a huge dent the in lives of over 25,000 students and their families, we are asking them to support us and we shouldn’t take this lightly. I don’t understand why we are not voting on the proposal that KSD put forward on the 26th.
    http://www.kent.k12.wa.us/KSD/CR/Budget/budget_negotiations/budget_negotiations/budget_negotiations/html/documents/Aug26PackageProposal.pdf

    We need to let the membership speak for itself at this point in good faith show our community that we are truly about a resolution. We need to do more than party on the strike line hanging with our co-works but be a part of progress.

  3. Greg Fellin Says:

    It is really sad the way these teachers are being treated. Teachers are like hero’s in my mind and should be paid much better than they are. Even given this fact these folks with degrees who could go anywhere and make much more money still stay for the kids — then to be treated like this. Kent has never had a strike to what I can remember (I started in school in KSD at Lake Youngs in 1974).

    As far as the hours put in at night at home grading papers, yes there should have the summers off. This talk about days worked (summer’s off) & less than 8 hour days is crap. Either go salary and give them an extra 40-50% a year, or pay them per hour for all their hours worked like at home at night.

  4. Teacher Supporter Says:

    Dear retired teacher,

    I was a bit upset about your comments about how teachers were behaving inappropriately or demonstrating “unprofessional behavior.” I’m not sure what location you are basing this on. Although it is true that it is good to dress professionally (especially when in the work place), how often have you seen strikers from other unions dressed in a suit and tie or skirts and heels when walking the picket line? I don’t think I’ve seen Boeing workers dressed in that manner when on strike. Besides, I think standing and walking for 6 plus hours in 80+ degree weather requires more comfortable attire…if that means wearing shorts, sneakers, flip-flops, tank tops, or t-shirts so be it. Another thing, why is it wrong for teachers on strike to have a beverage or take a break to eat? During the school year, we barely have half an hour to scarf down our lunch. Just because we are on strike doesn’t mean we need to starve ourselves or get dehydrated in summer weather. As for waving and shouting at passing cars, my experience with my colleagues was that we were simply responding to honks from supporters or waving back to supporters with “thank-you!”. As people serving the community, I think we are doing the right thing by acknowledging community support by waving and responding to passing cars with cheerful thanks. Lastly, I don’t think teachers would consider striking “fun.” Honestly, as a former teacher, you should be less judgmental of your peers.

    • Very Frustrated Says:

      This was my experience as well. Also, I have a very fun staff. We are close and enjoy spending time together. It’s more likely to find us laughing through our staff meetings with our principal than to find us serious about something. NONE of us want to be doing this but we have used the time to talk to one another, continue bonding as a staff (and welcoming our new staff) and teasing our few men about their “strike beards.” We are enjoying each other’s company, yes, but this is NOT fun.

    • Kent Teacher Says:

      Amen

  5. veteranteacher Says:

    Wow! Retired teacher, I can guess from your comments that you never had to go on strike! You are fortunate. I am old enough to retire, but am still here because I love to teach and I feel that I have something yet to give. I have always preached “appropriate” attire and behavior to my students and I feel that I act and dress according to the task at hand. That means that you will see me dressed differently when I go on a field trip from days when I have parent-teacher conferences. I will dress differently on days that I have bus and playground duty, especially in the winter, from days that we are doing messy art projects. And you won’t see me in heels and a skirt when I go along with the students to 6th grade camp!

    As I walked the picket line, I was wearing khaki pants, a polo shirt, baseball cap, sunglasses, and athletic shoes. A couple of times during the day I stopped for a short break to sit down and I had a bottle of water as I walked. As I walked, I talked with my colleagues (yes, they are still my colleagues even on strike), often about planning issues and about professional books we had read over the unpaid summer break, ideas that we were excited about implementing in our classrooms, and especially about how we would like to make our school a better learning environment for all students. Does this sound unprofessional to you? I happen to think it is the height of professional behavior. I was proud of my colleagues as I walked with them. I am sickened by this strike and especially by the fact that we don’t seem to be able to solve it reasonably in time for school to start on time, but if you want to point the finger at unprofessional conduct, you will have to look somewhere else.

    Perhaps the phrase “Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes” fits here. If you agree with us, join us on the picket line. What would you wear? Would you really go all day without food or drink? And would you really not wave to passing cars or have a pleasant expression on your face?

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