Strike authorized for teachers of Salem-Keizer schools

(More information will be added to this story as it comes out.)

The Salem-Keizer Education Association (SKEA) issued a press release on Friday, March 22, noting that a teacher strike has been authorized by the union. 

A 94% vote for yes came from 99% of eligible members, making this the first time ever Salem-Keizer educators have authorized a strike or taken a vote for one.  

Due to a strike only being authorized at the moment, no official start date for one has been set, though, in previous statements, SKEA officials have described April 2, or when students return from spring break, as a possible start date where a strike to occur.  

“Today, Salem-Keizer educators have made it clear that they want our bargaining team to continue to fight for a contract that makes substantial improvements for students and educators in our neighborhood public schools,” said president of SKEA Tyler Scialo-Lakeberg,in the press release. 

Scialo-Lakeberg continued, noting that SKEA remains hopeful that a fair deal can be reached without requiring a strike and that she is encouraged by the possibility of a deal being struck between the parties. 

Despite this she finished saying that “[SKEA] will continue to prepare for the possibility of a strike if we determine it is necessary to reach a fair deal.”

Commonplace within the last year or so, the most recent teachers strike in Oregon occurred last November, lasting for 11 days in total. 

After the strike Portland Association of Teachers (PAT) secured things such as classroom size committees, a 14.4% compounded increase to pay and securing more planning time for teachers, to name a few. 

For Salem-Keizer schools, the main contention points left in mediation revolves around classroom sizes as well as how teachers’ workload is calculated. 

Union representatives and the district have already come into agreement on a lion’s share of the leftover requests such as pay increase, insurance, as well as safety measures for all staff. 

In terms of pay, teachers would receive a total 9.75% cost-of-living increase over the next two years with 6.25% this year and 3.5% in 2025.

The district also noted that contributions to employee health insurance would increase by $100 to a total of $1,500 per month. 

If a strike occurs, the team will put in a 10-day notice of an intent to strike to the Oregon Employment Relations Board. 

A mediation session is scheduled between SKEA and SKPS for this Monday, March 25.

Contact Quinn Stoddard
[email protected] or 503-390-1051

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