Washougal, WA — In a direct video message via YouTube, Washougal Association of Educators (WAE) President, Eric Engebretson announced that the local teacher’s union has officially decided to strike, effective Tuesday, August 28 unless a settlement cannot be reached by 5 pm on Monday, August 27.
Here’s a direct link to his message: WAE Strike Announcement
He cites concerns over salaries and classroom sizes as primary issues that led to their decision.
Here are some excerpts from his video:
“All of our teachers have struggled casting their vote as they understood that by striking, it would delay meeting their students on the first day,” said Engebretson. “… The days missed due to a strike will be treated similarly to snow days.”
“…We are committed to reducing class size Kindergarten through 12th grade.”
“ … We are asking for the amount of money earmarked by the Legislature to pay teacher’s salaries.”
Washougal School District issued the following statement:
“The district and the association continued to work with mediators from the Public Employee Relations Commission (PERC) on Saturday. Despite progress, the association told the district they will not bargain tomorrow (Sunday, August 26, 2018). We are hopeful that WAE will change their minds, and show up to continue to work on a contract that would avoid a strike.
“We are willing to work 24/7 to find a sustainable agreement so that our students can start school on Tuesday. We hope that WAE is also willing to work toward an agreement the community can afford.
“If WAE does not show up on Sunday, WAE and WSD will continue work on the agreement on Monday, August 27. As more information is available, the district will inform families about the possibility that a WAE strike will disrupt the first day of school.”
Engebretson said there were no official meetings scheduled for Sunday. He said they met Friday and Saturday for 12 hours each day, with no movement from the district about salaries.
“We would have sacrificed faith and family by meeting on Sunday, but we wanted more movement on salaries,” said Engebretson. “We will be meeting with them again on Monday at 9 am.”
We will continue to update you on this developing story.
To learn more about the details of the discussions, please read our article from Friday: Washougal Schools, Union Try to Reach Agreement