Washington state strikes continue as Tumwater teachers defy back-to-work order
14 September 2018
Teachers in the small town of Tumwater, Washington voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to continue striking in defiance of a back-to-work order issued earlier in the day by Thurston County Superior Court Judge Chris Lanese. According to teachers, the walkout, which began September 1, will continue despite threats to impose sanctions on them.
Tumwater union officials reported that after “intense debate” during a two-and-a-half hour mass meeting members voted “emphatically” to defy the order.
This courageous action by the 400 teachers, just south of the state capital of Olympia, came after the judge hypocritically sided with the school district’s claims that the continuation of the strike would do “substantial harm to students.” In fact, teachers in Tumwater and across the state are fighting not just for themselves but for their students who are suffering from the effects of decades of budget cuts and chronic underfunding. Conditions have gotten so bad that the state supreme court ruled that the state politicians in Olympia violated their constitutional duty to provide quality education to the state’s 1.1 million students.
“Sometimes what we need to do is stand up for something we don’t believe is right and, in this case, we don’t believe that’s right,” teacher Doug Peltier told KOMO News. “So that’s why we’re out here.”
“I am a paraeducator, not a teacher,” a Tumwater paraeducator who requested anonymity told the World Socialist Web Site Teacher Newsletter. “But, I am out in support of teachers because that is my job, supporting teachers and students.”