Should teachers be allowed to strike? Some state senators say no. On Friday, the Senate Commerce and Trade Committee held a hearing on two bills dealing with the issue. Senate Bill 5155
would ban strikes by educational employees. Senate Bill 5021
would prevent teachers and other school employees from using sick days or other benefits during a walkout.
The state teachers’ union says that the bills are unnecessary.
“Strikes are a last resort. They are rare,” said Lucinda Young, with the Washington Education Association.
Backers of the proposals, including the Washington Association of School Administrators, say the state needs to send a clear message that such strikes will not be tolerated. The bill allows for up to a daily $10,000 penalty against striking employee organizations.
Both bills are long shots — only a few senators have signed on as co-sponsors, and less than three weeks ago, the WEA reminded lawmakers of its political clout by bringing more than 22,000 people to Olympia — the largest demonstration at the capitol in more than a decade.