Substitute teachers in the D.C. Public Schools protested at City Hall Monday, citing inflation concerns as they demanded a pay increase to $35 an hour.
The Washington Substitute Teachers United (WSTU), an informal coalition of the city’s mostly non-unionized subs, said in a press release that recent pay increases of $5 an hour for regular daily subs and $10 an hour for long-term subs — both of which went into effect this month — are not enough to provide a living wage.
On Jan. 18, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that DCPS substitute teachers would receive an increase from $15 an hour. But the WSTU said subs did not see any increases until their May 6 paychecks, when a $5 increase for regular subs and a $10 increase for long-term subs took effect.
The city is down to 500 subs from 800 before the pandemic, according to Myrtle Washington, president of WSTU.
“We deserve a living wage because we should be able to live without spending all of our salary on gasoline and basic necessities,” Ms. Washington told The Washington Times. “Some of us are struggling to do that.”
Neither Mayor Bowser nor D.C. City Council responded to a request for comment on the protest that occurred Monday in front of city offices at the John Wilson Building on Pennsylvania Avenue.
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The protest comes amid a nationwide substitute teacher shortage that has seen many schools using substitutes as full-time replacements for teachers who have quit the profession.