Issue #336

Union campaign calls city pre-K plan GOP-friendly, male-dominated

Labor union consultant Heather Weiner

After a state Court of Appeals ruling yesterday, it’s all but certain that November voters will have to choose between two pre-K measures: one backed by the city and one by two unions. Rather than fight City Hall, the unions wanted the court to allow voters to choose both measures, but the appellate judges stood by a lower court’s ruling in saying no. Heather Weiner, speaking for the union-backed measure, says no further appeal is currently planned. So the fight is on. And to make matters even more confusing, the measures have almost identical names. The plan promoted by SEIU 925 and the American Federation of Teachers of Washington is known as Proposition 1A (although the ballot will mention its original name, Initiative 107). The city plan is called Proposition 1B. Having lost in court, the union campaign is offering one pointed way to differentiate between the two. It claims that an internal poll shows that Democrats are more likely to favor the union measure—a sweeping plan that would cover all preschool kids, limit costs, give teachers a fast track to a $15-an-hour wage, and likely give the unions a big role in establishing new teacher standards. Republicans, according to the poll, tend to prefer the more limited city plan, which sets up a pilot for just 2,000 preschoolers, requires teachers to get college degrees, emphasizes “research based strategies” and lays out a property tax to pay for it all. Seattle Weekly, 9-3-14.

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