Teachers rally for raises with ‘walk in’

Sunnyside High School educators take part in the May 30 walk-in.

Paula Greene
Sunnyside High School educators take part in the May 30 walk-in.

— Sunnyside Education Association union members rallied for salary increases Wednesday morning with a “walk in.”

Dressed in red, the rally was to show that teachers support education, union President Paula Greene said.

“Walk-outs are negative, and this was meant to be positive,” she said. “We walked in.”

Superintendent Kevin McKay was in meetings and unavailable for comment, other school officials said.

Regardless, Greene said McKay has been supportive of educators, even with state law now putting them at odds.

Statutes now require certified and classified staff to bargain for salaries, she said.

“There isn’t a SAM — Salary Allocation Model — anymore,” Greene said.

“It’s a huge undertaking,” she said of the bargaining process currently under way.

Greene said union representatives have met with district officials 4-5 times, so far.

Contracts need to be negotiated by the beginning of the 2018-19 academic year, she said.

“We’re trying to show solidarity and support both the students and the bargaining unit,” she said, adding that some administrators also participated in the walk-in.

“Education matters,” Greene said.

“The effort is meant to be positive,” she said.

Elsewhere in the state, there are districts in which the bargaining process is not working.

Media outlets in the Tri-Cities report the Kennewick School District is refusing to negotiate salaries.

The Legislature added $1 billion to fund educator salaries this year in excess of an additional $1 billion allocated for public school students, doing away with the Salary Allocation Model used for three decades.

Therefore, educators have no choice regarding whether they bargain for salaries.

“It’s important to show there is support for educators, students and the community,” Greene said.


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