A judge jailed and fined 23 members of a striking teachers' union in Pawtucket, R.I., for contempt and threatened to cite more, as walkouts by 8,000 teachers in seven states kept 115,000 students out of classes yesterday.
In the largest strike, Seattle School District officials called for a state fact-finder to study a two-week walkout that has idled 43,500 students.
Other strikes were in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York and Illinois.
In Pawtucket, teachers' union president Mary Ann Kaveny and 22 of the city's 600 striking teachers were ordered to jail by Superior Court Judge Corinne P. Grande, who said they would be freed when they agree to work. The judge also fined them $500 for every day they do not work.
"This is an out-and-out refusal to obey a lawful order of the court. There is no justification," Grande said of the teachers' refusal to heed her order last week to end their walkout, which has idled 8,200 students since Sept. 4.
Grande said she would consider contempt charges against 34 more members of the Pawtucket Teachers Alliance and that she would consider sanctions against the union, whose strike violates state law.