June 8: Bargaining Updates

Nutrition Services

Following several months of talks, the union representing our Nutritional Services staff and TPS reached a tentative agreement on a salary re-opener this week. Details of the settlement are as follows: for 2020-21, a 1% (one percent) salary increase over the 2019-2020 salary schedule, plus the built-in Implicit Price Deflator (IPD – formerly COLA) of 1.6% (one point six percent), for a 2.6% (two point six percent) annual increase. Additional improvements to the salary schedule include raises for employees who obtain further training through the SNA Certification process. The salary adjustments for this year will be retroactive to September 1, 2020.

For the 2021-22 school year, the salary increases will be 2% (two percent) on the schedule, plus IPD (estimated to be around 2% (two percent)). The minimum wage for the second year of the agreement will be $15.00 (fifteen) per hour, which is the rate for a Substitute Helper.

The District would like to thank its labor partner for their patience and diligence during this process. The parties will return to the table for full contract negotiation in 2022.


The union has formally notified the District that it wishes to start negotiations for a successor agreement to the current collective bargaining agreement. The parties have calendared the first set of meeting dates. There is every expectation that the dialog will be robust and heartfelt.

Transportation (Bus)

Negotiations for a full contract are continuing. Parties began meeting in late January, with additional dates for bargaining scheduled this week and next. Several contract provisions have been tentatively agreed to by the parties, with language exchanges flowing effortlessly in an atmosphere of respect. TPS wishes to thank its labor partner for the open dialog and mutual problem-solving approach that has been the norm since day one of these negotiations.


The unions representing our Trades' covered employees, and the District, will begin negotiations for a successor agreement to the current contract in June. The parties are currently trying to set the first meeting date. The District's expectation that the usual honest conversations it has with its union colleagues during our Labor/Management Meetings will continue throughout the negotiations.


The District and union will begin negotiations for a new contract later this month. As a preliminary step and bilateral effort, the District and union have agreed to schedule a meeting in the next few weeks to work toward a shared understanding of a new law passed in Olympia this session. These early efforts should assist the parties as they move forward with the rest of the negotiations.

Tacoma Education Association (TEA)

The District and the Association continue to hold conversations per a contractual re-opener concerning input around our Innovative Schools and programs. The parties will also start discussing ESA caseloads next week via similar language negotiated into the current contract.


Media Contact

Dan Voelpel, Executive Director of Communications | 253-571-1015 | dvoelpe@tacoma.k12.wa.us

About Tacoma Schools

Tacoma Public Schools is the only district designated an Innovation Zone by Washington State. A leader in implementing innovative schools and programs to meet the diverse needs of every student, every day, TPS serves approximately 30,000 students from preschool to grade 12 and at nearly 5000 employees is one of the largest employers in Tacoma. Learn more...


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