Workers authorize strike at Vancouver Public Schools

By an 89% margin, members of Vancouver Association of Education Support Professionals (VAESP) voted Oct. 26 to authorize their leadership to call a strike if they can’t get an acceptable contract with Vancouver Public Schools. The priority issues are inadequate pay and a short staffing crisis.

They’ve been working without a contract since Aug. 31.

VAESP, an affiliate of Washington Education Association, represents approximately 600 school support workers at the district, including clerks, secretaries, aquatic coordinators, tech support personnel, and para-educators who work with special education students. Para-educators are the most numerous classification in the union, and they say a severe staffing shortage is compromising safety in the classroom.

The two sides were scheduled to meet again with the assistance of a state mediator Nov. 3, after this issue went to press.

-DM

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