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United for equal bargaining rights for community and technical college faculty

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Susan Palmer CTC bargaining bill
WEA member Susan Palmer testifies in support of collective bargaining while Joe Field and Carla Naccarato-Sinclair wait their turn to support the bill.

Take action for equal bargaining rights: email your legislators!

WEA member and Walla Walla Community College instructor Susan Palmer and former student Joe Field testified Monday in support of Senate Bill 5993, which would give community and technical college faculty the right to negotiate locally funded salary increases. The bill is WEA’s top policy priority this year.

WEA Board Director and United Faculty of Washington President Bill Lyne spoke in support. He explained to legislators how faculty at The Evergreen State College and Western, Central and Eastern universities have negotiated competitive pay that allows them to attract and keep qualified, committed professors for their students. Legislation granting bargaining rights to four-year college faculty passed in 2002.

“It has been great for our students,” Lyne said. “It has worked out very well for us.”

WEA AHE President Carla Naccarato-Sinclair also testified in support of the bargaining bill, which has bipartisan support in both the state House and Senate.

HB 1237 is the House version, sponsored by retired educator and WEA member Mike Sells.

CTC bargaining group
WEA members joined their union colleagues from AFT Washington to support equal bargaining rights for community and technical college faculty.

Similar legislation has passed the House in previous years, but was blocked in the Senate, which was led by Republicans. This year, Democrats control the Senate

“This bill has been around here a long time – it’s overdue,” said Sen. Steve Conway, who serves on the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee.

Several college administrators testified in opposition, praising their faculty but claiming they don’t have the money to pay them competitive, professional salaries.

AFT Washington members also testified in support.

Justice for Children Rally in Olympia

Dozens of WEA members rallied on the Capitol steps for a Justice for Children Rally Monday.

Rally for Justice
WEA member Vallerie Fisher speaks at the Rally for Children in Olympia while Sen. Bob Hasegawa listens.

Organized by the WEA Black, LGBTQ, Washington BAT, Hispanic, Women’s and Native American and Pacific Islander caucuses, the rally focused on protecting public education, labor rights, women’s rights, economic justice, health care and the environment.

Vallerie Fisher, chair of WEA’s Black Caucus, was among those who spoke. She quoted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness,” Fisher said. “Only light can do that.” Other WEA speakers included Shannon Ergun, Martha Patterson, Daniel Harada, Ana Romero and Julianna Dauble.

As we celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., it’s a good time to remember his commitment to labor rights and economic justice. At the time of his assassination, Dr. King was in Memphis supporting striking sanitation workers.

De-linking tests from graduation

Bob Hasegawa and Becca  Ritchie 2018
Sen. Bob Hasegawa and WEA member Becca Ritchie.

For nearly two decades, WEA members have supported legislation removing tests as a high school graduation requirement. Several WEA members testified in support of Senate Bill 6144 before the Senate education committee Monday. WEA supports the bill, which removes “the statewide assessments as a high school graduation requirement,” according to the official bill digest.

WEA member Becca Ritchie testified in support. She also was the lead organizer for the Justice for Children Rally.

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