LETTER: The teacher's strike is illegal

To the Editor:
The latest teachers' strike is illegal under state law. This was a major provision in  teachers contracts to assure children would not have their education disrupted. Every teacher promised by signing their contract, that they would not strike, thereby protecting the paramount right – as stated in the Washington state Constitution – to a good education. Regardless of this promise, we are subjected to ilegal teacher strikes. This latest action is unlawful and should be repudiated in the strongest terms. Proposed legislation that would block the state from paying a striking teachers's salary or benefits while they are on strike should be approved immediately. In State Senator Mishael Baumgartner's words, these strikes use our children as a political football.

Most people believe teachers should be well-paid; and they are. On average public school teachers receive over $83,000 in pay and benefits for the ten-month school year, which is actually equivalent to $99,600 if they would  worked a 12 month schedule. In addition, they take Veterans Day, Martin Luther King Day, Memorial Day, 12 days for winter (Christmas – New Year's) break, 10 days for the midwinter break, five days for spring (Easter) break. Added to these is 10 days sick leave and two days of something called personal leave. This totals 42 days of paid leave. In spite of this, they want more: 21% raise over three years, 3% cost-of-living raise +1.8% increase that expires in 2017. Our teachers pay is hardly in adequate when you consider the average worker's pay in our state is only $68,300.

I want teachers to be well-paid. After all, I was a public school teacher myself, and have a granddaughter who is a teacher  but this strike should not be condoned or allowed. Hopefully other citizens will join me in protesting this unlawful strike.

HE Bud Shasteen

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