Education

Battle Ground gets injunction, votes to keep striking

Teachers remain on strike in the district

VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) -- Despite a Clark County Superior Court order for Battle Ground teachers to stop striking and return to their classrooms, the Battle Ground Education Association voted to remain on strike. 

The teachers and the district met in Clark County Superior Court Friday morning after 
the Battle Ground School District filed an injunction against striking teachers to force them back into the classroom.

Judge Scott Collier granted the injunction and ordered teachers to return to the classroom. 

The decision was based on common law in Washington that public employees don’t have the right to strike, that the district has the legal and equitable right to file for the injunction, and that the strike creates substantial harm to children, community. 

Technically, the strike continues. But the judge ordered the teachers back to the classroom as negotiations take place.

Margaret Olney, the union's attorney, argued, "We're not obviously saying the strike isn't disruptive." She said the question was whether it actually causes true substantial harm to students.
    
Teacher strikes - or the threat of walkouts - have been widespread in Washington state, which infused $1 billion for teacher pay to resolve a long-running court battle. Local bargaining units have sought to renegotiate salaries.

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Battle Ground Public Schools spokeswoman Rita Sanders confirmed Wednesday the board unanimously passed a resolution giving clearance for a Tacoma law firm to take legal action in order to terminate the strike, which has already delayed the start of school more than 2 school weeks.

On Thursday, the district filed an injunction, saying in part, "We are committed to the bargaining process, but it is a great disservice to our students to not have them in class. And that remains the district's primary objective: to get kids into school."

Battle Ground is the only district in Clark County that hasn't come to an agreement with their teachers. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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