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Faculty bargaining bill progresses thanks to Democratic majority

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Karen Keiser higher ed 2
Sen. Karen Keiser is prime sponsor of legislation giving equal bargaining rights to community and technical college faculty.

One of WEA’s top Unity Agenda priorities has cleared a key deadline.

Substitute Senate Bill 5993 gives community and technical college faculty the right to negotiate salary increases with local funds. It passed out of the Senate Ways and Means Committee Tuesday, the deadline for budget bills to pass out of that committee.

Next, the bill is expected to go to a vote of the full Senate. A similar bargaining bill is likely to be voted on in the House, where it has passed in previous legislation sessions with bipartisan support.

In the past, Senate Republicans killed the bill at the request of college administrators who oppose faculty collective bargaining rights. Thanks to the November election of Sen. Manka Dhingra, Democrats now control the Senate, which why the legislation stands a better chance of passing this year.

WEA members are committed to passing the bill. Community and technical college faculty are the only public education employees in Washington who don’t have the right to bargain local pay raises.

“I am graduating students in June who will make more…than I do as their teacher,” said Olympic College nursing instructor Allison Wareham, a WEA member who testified before the Senate committee.

Email members of the Ways and Means Committee and thank them for supporting SSB 5993.

Feb. 6 was the cutoff for budget-related bills to pass out of committee, including bills dealing with the McCleary school funding plan and retiree COLAs and healthcare funding. However, legislation necessary to implement the budget – include those bills – remain in play until the legislative session ends. 

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