Education

Kennewick teachers make signs and plan rally as Monday’s strike deadline looms

Kennewick Education Association bargaining rally

James Gow, Washington Education Association-Southeast representative, tells about the contract negotiations being held between the Kennewick Education Association and the Kennewick School District.
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James Gow, Washington Education Association-Southeast representative, tells about the contract negotiations being held between the Kennewick Education Association and the Kennewick School District.

Kennewick teachers and administrators spent a fifth day in mediation talks on Sunday as Monday’s end-of-day deadline for teachers to strike loomed.

By late afternoon there was no word of any progress.

Teachers planned to meet Sunday night to make signs.

And Kennewick Education Association members were expecting to rally starting at 6:45 a.m. Monday in front of the district’s administration building before the start of a planned work day.

“A show of excellence on Monday is the best thing we as a members can do to encourage a fair contract and an on-time start for the school year,” the association posted on social media.

The association also called on parents and other supporters to call or text school board members with the message that board members could stop the possible strike by providing teachers with a fair and competitive contract.

Last week, the Kennewick Education Association said its 1,200 teachers and other certified professionals agreed to strike if pay and other issues in the new three-year contract can’t be settled.

The Kennewick School District administration said a new proposal was presented Saturday that included a 6.25 percent across-the-board salary increase.

It would bring the average teacher salary to nearly $79,000, with more than 200 teachers making the top salary of almost $101,900 and more than 450 teachers making more than $90,000, according to the district.

Association officials have argued previously that Kennewick was not paying all teachers as well as the Pasco and Richland school districts.

The teachers and administrators negotiated all day Saturday with an independent mediator from the Public Employment Relations Committee, before returning to mediated talks Sunday.

The association said late Sunday afternoon that unless the district decided otherwise, 6th-grade orientation will be held as planned Monday with teachers and others being in classrooms to greet students. Check for any updates at ksd.org.

The new school year for students is scheduled to start Tuesday.

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