Lake Washington School District office professionals reach tentative agreement

The district and Lake Washington Education Support Professionals reached a tentative agreement Jan. 17.

The Lake Washington Education Support Professionals (LWESP) and the Lake Washington School District (LWSD) reached a tentative contract agreement on Jan. 17.

The tentative agreement follows LWESP’s Jan. 7 vote to authorize a strike for “competitive pay and a fair contract.”

The union represents about 300 LWSD office staff members, which include office managers, clerical assistants, receptionists, health room secretaries and accounting technicians.

School secretaries and other office professionals in LWSD have been working without a contract since Aug. 31, 2019. Contract negotiations began in May 2019 and the district requested mediation services from the Public Employees Relation Commission (PERC) in August of that year. The school district and LWESP have participated in eight mediated sessions since then and have continued to exchange proposals, according to the district.

The details of the tentative agreement will not be shared publicly until the LWESP holds a general membership meeting where members will review the tentative agreement before taking a vote. As of the Reporter’s Thursday print deadline, the union had not set a date for its next general membership meeting.

“Minor details will be completed [the week of Jan. 20]. LWESP will schedule a membership meeting to review the tentative agreement and take a ratification vote,” an LWSD press release stated.

LWESP president Caroline Borrego said she was proud of the bargaining team and the many hours they dedicated to the members.

“Our bargain has been about fair and equitable pay, as well as the respect and value that office professionals bring to their work every day,” she said.

According to an LWESP press release, this school year was the union’s first chance to negotiate competitive pay since the state Legislature approved historic increases in state funding specifically for educator compensation.

More information regarding the details of the tentative will be available once LWESP holds a general membership meeting.