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On the picket line

October 24, 2003 | Page 11

Marysville, Wash., teachers
By Eric Matsumura, Washington Education Association

MARYSVILLE, Wash.--Seven hundred teachers and support staff in the Marysville Education Association have been on strike since the first day of the school year. Holding the line for 40 days, it is now the longest teachers' strike in state history.

The school district has sought and won an injunction ordering the teachers back to work, but as Socialist Worker went to press, it wasn't clear how the teachers would respond. The district is demanding that the teachers completely revamp their current pay scale and work eight days for free as well as trying to eliminate educational assistant positions and remove restrictions on class size.

At a recent rally attended by more than 1,000 strikers and their supporters, the teachers sent a clear message that they'd rather be teaching, but that they won't go back to work on the terms that management is demanding. "All teachers are potentially in the same position," said Jason, a teacher from a neighboring school district. I am here to show my support."

Solidarity has been a key to this struggle. Teachers' unions from across the state have sent donations and letters of solidarity, and many supporters have joined the picket lines.

The teachers' determination is sure to be tested by the order to return to work. Anger among teachers across the state has been high since Gov. Gary Locke cancelled their cost of living adjustment.

When asked about the state and district pleading poverty, striking teacher Lynn Boze told Socialist Worker, "This is an attack on workers. But the attacks are not from terrorists but from corporate boardrooms and the White House. Their priorities are all wrong."

Steve Leigh contributed to this report.

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