The Latest: Seattle teachers union panel votes to end strike

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Posted: Sep 15, 2015 9:15 PM
The Latest: Seattle teachers union panel votes to end strike

SEATTLE (AP) — The latest on the strike by public-school teachers in Seattle (all times local):

6 p.m.

Leaders of the Seattle teachers union have voted to end a five-day strike and have urged the 5,000 members to accept a tentative contract, which would bring students back to school this week.

The union's board of directors and its representative assembly on Tuesday recommended approving the three-year agreement that addresses major sticking points around pay, testing and length of the school day.

The strike would be suspended until the union's full membership votes on the deal Sunday.

The walkout began Sept. 9, delaying the start of school for 53,000 students in the state's largest district. Teachers complained that living expenses have become unaffordable as the city's high-paid technology industry booms and they have gone six years without a cost-of-living increase.

The Seattle Teachers Union says its members would be back at work Wednesday. The district has said students would return to class Thursday.

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12:35 p.m.

Union officials say a tentative contract agreement aiming to end a strike by Seattle teachers will span three years.

Jonathan Knapp, president of the Seattle Education Association, wouldn't provide specifics Tuesday about the terms, saying he's waiting for the union's 5,000 members to review it.

Knapp said at a news conference that the union's executive board and representative assembly would announce later in the day whether they approve the deal. If they do, teachers could be back in school Wednesday, with students returning Thursday.

The strike would be suspended pending a vote on the contract by the full membership this weekend.

Knapp says the deal "signifies a new era" because the union worked with parents and other groups to push a progressive agenda.

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10:19 a.m.

Seattle students could be in school by Thursday if striking teachers approve a tentative contract agreement.

The deal was announced Tuesday morning, but teachers remained on the picket lines pending approval by the union.

If it's approved, Seattle Public Schools spokeswoman Stacy Howard said classes could begin Thursday. She said the logistics of ramping up transportation and other matters would take time.

The teachers walked out Sept. 9 and delayed the start of the school year for 53,000 students.

After the agreement was announced, several hundred cheering people — including children — marched with signs toward the school district office south of downtown.

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10:05 a.m.

Striking teachers in Seattle are eagerly awaiting the details of a tentative contract agreement.

The union announced the deal Tuesday, but teachers are remaining on the picket lines pending its approval. The union and Washington state's largest school district have been negotiating over teacher pay, evaluations and the length of the school day.

Jeanne Bastasch, a physical education teacher at Greenwood Elementary, says she's nervous to know what was agreed upon and that she will "believe it when I see it."

Sean Harvey, a K-5 librarian picketing outside Loyal Heights Elementary, says he hasn't heard any details but that he has faith in the bargaining team.

Heather Dachary and her two kids joined the picket line at Greenwood, saying she wants her children back in school but also wants it done fairly.

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8:10 a.m.

Seattle teachers have reached a tentative agreement with the city's school district as their strike enters its fifth day, but they're remaining on the picket lines pending the deal's approval.

Washington Education Association spokesman Rich Wood said Tuesday that the sides had reached a deal, but it must be approved by the Seattle teachers union's executive board and Representative Assembly.

The sides have been negotiating over issues that include teacher pay, evaluations and the length of the school day. The teachers walked out on Sept. 9 and delayed the start of the school year for 53,000 students.

Teachers complained that living expenses have become unaffordable as the city's high-paid technology industry booms and they have gone six years without a cost-of-living increase.

The union represents 5,000 teachers and support staff in the state's largest school district.