Puyallup teacher strike ends

PUYALLUP, Wash.  - Saturday, Puyallup teachers voted to end the strike against the school district.

For about a week, teachers in the district were on strike. Class was supposed to start Wednesday, but instead teachers picketed outside their schools.

The fight was over pay.

Teachers said they were not given a competitive wage and could drive to nearby districts and make thousands of dollars more.

The Puyallup Education Association says they were in talks with the district since May trying to come to an agreement. That agreement was not reached in time for the start of the school year, so classes were cancelled.

On Saturday, teachers say they got the notice the union and the district came to a tentative agreement.

With less than 12 hours notice, 1,016 teachers filled the gymnasium at Rogers High School. Karen McNamara, president of the Puyallup Education Union, says 985 of them voted in favor of the new teacher pay increases.

"It's a good day for our district, because we're now going to be able to open school on Monday and move forward. We're so anxious to greet our kids and have school. That's really what we wanted all along," said McNamara.

Entry level teachers in the Puyallup School District will start out making $52,020. The salary will top off at $102,094. McNamara says whats more important is teachers will no longer have to wait their entire career to become a top earner.

Cheers could be heard outside the doors of Rogers High School as the deal was discussed with the teacher's union.

Teachers say this is the moment they waited for.

"It was hurtful. We work really hard. So this feels just," said Melanie Muller a Puyallup teacher.

Teachers say they are now focused on getting back into the classroom.