Update: Tacoma teachers to meet at picket lines to decide next step

Sep 14, 2011

(Go here for the latest developments of this story.)

Tacoma's striking teachers have decided to go back to the picket lines this morning rather than directly to their classes to decide on their next action, a union official clarified last night. (Editor's note: An earlier version of this story stated the teachers were rejecting the judge's orders. It's still unclear whether they will return to class or not.)

Tacoma Education Association (TEA) "certificated members should meet at their regular picket line locations as scheduled Thursday morning, as you heard from your picket captains," TEA president Andy Coons said in an email to union members.

Dana Lede, who teaches band and orchestra in a Tacoma middle school, said she plans to go on strike tomorrow.

"Everyone seems really strong and very united in their belief that this is still the right thing to do," she said.

School officials have said that school will be starting two hours late, but starting nonetheless tomorrow morning. They plan to replace some 1,800 teachers with 125 substitute teachers and what other district officials and staff they can put in a classroom.

Superior Court Judge Bryan Chushcoff ordered teachers in Washington state's third-largest school district to go back to work earlier today. The teachers walked out Tuesday over issues that include pay and how teachers are transferred.

Chushcoff also ordered both sides to return to negotiations. In compliance with that order, the teachers' union leadership will return to the bargaining table tomorrow at 1:30 p.m.

Friday at 1:30 p.m.,  judge Chushcoff plans to hold a hearing to review compliance with his order and decide on further legal action.