Councilmember Kshama Sawant (District 3, Central Seattle) issued the following statement in solidarity with educators in the Seattle Public School District who are organized with the Seattle Education Association (SEA). Members of SEA are fighting for pay raises commensurate with the city’s cost of living. They are also demanding the District take steps toward addressing racism in the school system, and include substitute teachers and support staff in healthcare coverage.
“As an elected representative of Seattle’s working people, a socialist, and a member of the American Federation of Teachers, I stand in solidarity with Seattle educators in their struggle for a strong contract.
“Seattle is absolutely unaffordable for our educators, and they are increasingly getting pushed out of the city. This is a crisis that must be addressed. Other school districts have offered contracts with 20 percent raises. It is only reasonable for Seattle Public Schools to at least match that, given the skyrocketing housing costs in Seattle.
“We need to fight institutional racism in every aspect of our society, including in our classrooms. SEA is fighting for Ethnic Studies at all grade levels, hiring more black educators, training staff in restorative justice practices, and building on their previous victory to expand race and equity teams. These are important steps toward a school district where black lives matter.
“SEA is fighting for regular working substitute educators and support staff to get healthcare coverage, which is a life and death issue for many hard-working subs.
“I want to urge Seattle Public Schools and the School Board to settle a strong contract with the union. If SEA is forced to strike, I will be joining them on the picket lines.
“This is a union fighting for all of our children. While Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump’s administration are attacking public education nationally, we are fortunate in Seattle to have a union like SEA standing up for educators, students, and families. We need to stand with them in promoting high-quality, fully-funded schools for all. Supporting SEA in winning a strong contract is an important component of building statewide and national mass movements to fight for public-sector unions against the Trump agenda, and to tax Wall Street to fully fund high-quality public education throughout the nation.
“Seattle Educators need our support now, so if you want to help them build strong schools, please join them today from 4 to 6pm outside the John Stanford Center at 3rd & Lander right near the SODO light rail station.”