The sticking point, as usual, is pension costs and post-retirement health care liabilities. Although the bargaining atmosphere is acrimonious, I expect a deal will get done before the strike deadline, just as it was in California.
The reason is simple. While those liabilities are a burden often kicked down the road, the affiliates in California and Washington are among the financially healthiest in NEA. You can rationalize cutting benefits in places like Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana, but there’s no case to be made for belt-tightening when the feast is laid on the table.