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Tacoma, Wash., Teachers' Strike Continues for Second Day

A strike at the 28,000-student Tacoma, Wash. district has moved into its second day, with the district planning legal action to get teachers back in the classroom.

School started Sept. 1 for the Tacoma district, which is the third largest in the state. The teacher contract expired August 31, though the sides have been negotiating since the end of May.

The teachers and the school administration say that the negotiations hinge on three issues: a proposed increase in class sizes, salaries, and a new policy for teacher transfers.

The school district's take on the union demands is that the union is being unreasonable when the district is facing funding cuts from the state.

The teachers' union has its own website that offers its perspective on why the negotiations have come to an impasse. The union says that the district is pushing to use "subjective and discriminatory" criteria in reassigning teachers, and that the union wants to hold salaries steady or risk losing teachers to surrounding districts that pay more.

This strike is the first in the district since 1978, and the school district has moved to file suit against the union's leaders, according to an article in the Tacoma News Tribune. They claim that public employees are not allowed to strike, under state law. A hearing on an injunction that would compel the teachers to return to work will be heard this morning.

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