Tuesday, January 15, 2019 – Office Professionals from the Issaquah Chapter of Public School Employees of Washington SEIU Local 1948 and Paraeducators from SEIU Local 925 held a strike vote meeting on January 15, 2019. Both unions overwhelming voted yes to authorize a strike: 98% for PSE and 94% for SEIU 925.
Issaquah chapters of PSE and SEIU 925 had previously filed grievances against Issaquah School District in response to the district’s unwillingness to bargain in good faith and provide Office Professionals and Paraeducators the COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) that they were promised. Issaquah School District remained unwilling to honor the contracts that were bargained. Both unions circulated a petition calling for a strike vote. An overwhelming majority of members signed in support of authorizing the strike vote that occurred on Tuesday night.
“All we are asking is that the district do the right thing and honor the union contract that we negotiated,” said Emily Freet, assistant to the principal at Maple Hills Elementary and president of the PSE Issaquah Office Professionals Chapter. “We work hard every day to make sure that every student is cared for and has a great day at school. If the district doesn’t do what’s right, employees won’t be able to afford to live in their own district. The surrounding areas respect their school staff with quality wages and follow through on what was negotiated. Our staff, and most importantly our students, deserve better than this.”
“We negotiated in good faith with the school district,” said Chrissy Richmond, a paraprofessional at Issaquah High School and member of the SEIU 925 bargaining team. “A cost-of-living increase is clearly stated in our contract, but the school district has refused to honor this despite the fact that we testified at two School Board Meetings and filed an official grievance. We want Issaquah to follow the lead of the 290 other school districts in Washington and pass on the COLA increase to classified staff.”
The union members will elect a Strike Committee to determine when to begin their strike. Once it starts, the unions will be on strike until an agreement is reached with the Issaquah School District.