ROC or WE WALK
They didn’t ROC, so we’ve gotta WALK – that’s what members of AFT Seattle Local 1789 said a couple of weeks ago when they voted to walk out on April 16. Their bold decision has inspired several other locals and we now have close to ten colleges (plus two of WEA’s) poised to send a loud and clear message to the legislature: the CTCs are a vital resource in our communities, and we need to invest in them and the people who do the work!
Here’s what is happening throughout the state:
Walk out/rallying/informational picketing:
AFT Seattle Local 1789, including Seattle Central, North Seattle, and South Seattle
Shoreline Community College Federation of Teachers Local 1950
Bates Technical College Local 4184
Peninsula CC Federation of Teachers Local 3439
Tabling to raise awareness and generate calls and emails to legislators:
Pierce College Federation of Teachers Local 4821, Steilacoom and Puyallup campuses
Edmonds CC Federation of Teachers Local 4254
Social Media campaign:
Green River CC Federation of Teachers Local 2195
Contacting legislators and joining an action near you:
If your local hasn’t decided what to do in solidarity, it’s not too late. We have materials we can send to help you mobilize your workplace – the message, the recipient, the medium (phone, email, post card – practically any format but Morse code!) We have a handy social media guide we encourage you to use.
It’s so important that our legislators and, even more specifically, key leaders in the House and the Senate, hear from as many students, staff, faculty, administrators, and community members, urging them to invest in our colleges. Please don’t let this moment pass without joining the fight!
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN OLYMPIA
We are pleased to report that HB 1355, our amended counselor bill, passed off the Senate floor and is now headed for the Governor’s desk. While we would have preferred immediate funding to hire more counselors, this bill establishes a task force to study the problem and make recommendations. It’s important progress and we look forward to contributing to a meaningful study and substantive recommendations.
Budget negotiations are underway, and there are some positive aspects to each of the budgets. A 3% per year for virtually all public education employees is in each budget (Governor, House, and Senate) and regional pay for CTC employees in King County is as well. The Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program reimbursement rate is increased by 6% in the House and Governor’s budget, but only 3% in the Senate budget, and professional development for paraeducators is funded for either two days or four days. The School Employee Benefits program is funded substantially, although with some differences in estimated cost, but it’s on track for implementation in large part due to the labor coalition (AFT Washington, WEA, Public School Employees 1948, Teamsters 117, SEIU 925, Int’l Union of Operating Engineers Local 609) that has put countless hours into ensuring high quality, well-funded healthcare insurance will be available to all school employees.
HB 2158, which would establish a revenue source dedicated to higher education, is imperfect but opens an important pathway for a sustainable and substantial investment. This bill reflects that legislators are beginning to recognize that higher education cannot continue to be the go-to for budget cuts. It indicates that they recognize the need to improve some faculty salaries (high demand fields). We will continue to advocate for additional funding for salaries for all our members with this bill or without it. Taking action on April 16th is a terrific opportunity for you to join the fight!