LWESP ratifies new contract

Lake Washington support professionals ratify new three-year contract with LWSD.

Lake Washington School District secretaries and other office professionals ratified a new three-year contract with the school district with a “thumbs up” Jan. 27 after working without a contract for nearly five months.

Members of the Lake Washington Education Support Professionals (LWESP) met Monday night to learn about the details in the new contract from the LWESP Bargaining Team, then discussed and debated the details before voting to accept the offer.

A few highlights of the new contract include an average increase of 15.9 percent in salary (which is an increase of $3.81 per hour on average) for the first year and a minimum increase of 2 percent in years two and three. Improved working conditions and increased professional development funds also are included. The contract is retroactive to Sept. 1, 2019.

“I believe this new contract addresses many of the concerns our members have felt regarding the value of our work,” said Carolina Borrego, president of the Lake Washington Education Support Professionals. “We believe our members deserve to be compensated equitably and fairly.”

The union represents about 200 school secretaries and other office professionals. Members have been working without a contract since Aug. 31. Contract negotiations began in May.

Earlier this month, LWESP members voted unanimously to “authorize the Lake Washington Education Support Professionals Executive Board to call a strike in our fight for competitive pay and a fair contract.”

This school year is the union’s first chance to negotiate competitive pay since the state Legislature approved historic increases in state funding specifically for educator compensation. The Lake Washington School District includes the communities of Redmond, Kirkland and Sammamish and is among the state’s most expensive places to live.