Labornotes.org reports that “Lawmakers in Washington state are scrambling to get ready for a special session after the state’s highest court announced it will start charging a penalty of $100,000 per day while legislators continue illegally underfunding the public schools.
The court’s move comes on the heels of one-day strikes that rolled across the state this spring. Half the members of the Washington Education Association (WEA), in some 65 school districts covering 40,000 teachers, walked out—including on the state’s conservative side, east of the mountains.”
Thousands of teachers across Washington state held the first in a planned series of one-day strikes last Wednesday to demand higher pay, better benefits and a reduction in class sizes, the state’s largest teachers’ union said.
Nearly 3,000 teachers in nine school districts were taking part in the strikes, which forced the cancellation of classes in two districts and a half day at a third, said Washington Education Association spokesman Rich Wood.
Wednesday’s walkout was the first in a staggered series of actions by Washington state teachers, with smaller strikes last Friday and this week. Other districts, including in Tacoma and the 5,000 members of the Seattle chapter of the union, are voting this week on whether to stage their own walkout in the coming days.
At issue are cost-of-living raises and funding for benefits being considered by the state Legislature. Teachers are unhappy about a proposal to raise pay by 3 percent over two years, while the state has not increased teacher healthcare funding in five years, the union said.