Some WA State Teacher Walkouts Illegal – What About Tri-Cities?
Thursday May 21st the Tri-City area schools will be silent, as over 80 percent (on average) of teachers voted to heed the advice of the teacher's union (WEA) and stage a one-day walkout. Much has been said about the difference between a strike and a walk-out. Are they still legal?
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson says teachers do NOT have the right by state law to stage a formal multi-day strike; usually marked by people working picket lines with signs asking the other party to meet their terms.
However, as we understand it, one day walk-outs are not prohibited by state law. Here's where it gets interesting.
We looked through the entire collective bargaining agreements that were certified for Richland, Pasco and Kennewick School Districts. On the subject of strikes or lockouts, we saw nothing addressed about that in the Pasco or Kennewick contract agreements. We did find this statement in the Richland contract, Section 1-E:
"The parties agree that during the term of this Contract there shall be no strike or other economic action by the Association and there shall be no lockout or other economic action by the District. In case of an impending statewide work stoppage, the Association and the District will meet to consider modifying the school calendar." (Bold lettering added for emphasis).