BELLEVUE, WA, May 17 – Susan Hutchison, the Chairman of the Washington State Republican Party, issued the following statement:
To our School Teachers:
With WEA one-day strikes scheduled throughout the state, I appeal to you to defy your union, and go to work to teach our children. The WEA is using your jobs to build its $millions in political funds to defeat the people who, like you, are working for student success. Consider this:
• This year’s Republican budget provides the highest education funding in state history and fully funds McCleary.
• Most teachers get a pay raise from the state every year. In addition, this year’s Republican budget gives all teachers a COLA of 3%. Republicans would like to add merit raises, but the WEA won’t let us.
• The WEA requires you to pay huge healthcare premiums to the WEA, when all other public employees pay half as much and receive excellent medical coverage. Why does your union make you pay twice as much for WEA healthcare? -- because the WEA gets a huge profit off of your premiums! Republicans are working to get you the same healthcare choice as all other state employees.
• The money your union collects from your paycheck every month is used to defeat education reform, to increase taxes (including yours!), and to force you to be a union member.
When I first started my career, I was in a union and even went on strike. I walked a picket line for weeks. I assure you:
• If the WEA were striking because 23% of ALL kids, 33% of Hispanics and 44% of African-American males never graduate -- I’d walk with you!
• If the WEA were striking because half of our education budget goes to bureaucracy instead of teachers and students, I’d walk with you!
• If the WEA were striking because good teachers are denied a chance to excel, I’d walk with you!
But the WEA prevents positive change. The average teacher’s salary is $60k, but Kim Mead and other WEA leadership make 4 times that much -- off of you!
My two sons went K-12 to Seattle Public Schools. We love teachers and support your devotion to teaching. So teach the WEA a lesson and reject their strike! Go to your classrooms and do what you do better than anyone -- teach our children!
Be sure to forward this to teachers across the state!