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Furlough bill heard in Senate Ways and Means

Jan. 28 — As the state looks to recover from the recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Senate Ways and Means Committee took up at its Thursday hearing a bill that would require most state employees to take 24 furlough days during the 2021-23 biennium. SB 5323 would also prohibit state agencies from granting salary and wage increases for exempt and Washington Management Service employees in the biennium. The bill comes at the request of the Office of Financial Management.

Testifying on behalf of the community and technical college system were Dr. Amy Morrison, president of Lake Washington Institute of Technology, Dr. Ed Brewster, interim president of Grays Harbor College, Dr. Bob Mohrbacher, president of Centralia College, and Glenn Johnson, a trustee for the Community Colleges of Spokane.

“At its core this bill is a pay cut. Just two years ago, this legislature made historic strides making long-overdue investments and operating and capital budget supports for our colleges, including pay increases to ensure that our hard-working employees were competitive with benchmark states,” Morrison said.

She also expressed concern that while the classified and exempt employees can choose their furlough days, faculty are not able to do so. Additionally, she said, faculty in-service days would be used as furlough days, eliminating opportunities for diversity, equity and inclusion professional development work, advising, and developing education best practices.

 

AFT 1789 Supports Protecting Personal Information of Electors

“The Executive Board of AFT Seattle Local1789 wishes to express our support for your efforts to get an exemption from disclosure of personal contact information for your 2020 candidates and campaign
personnel,” Stofer wrote. “We agree wholeheartedly that you have a right to protect the names and addresses of your members from those who may wish to cause harm. We also understand the necessity of upholding freedom of association and the right to privacy in those choices.
“We wish you success in your legal case. That success is important to all of us who might become the target of attacks on personal freedoms. We must defend the voice of awide variety of political opinions. It is intolerable thats ome seek to shut down political participation by threats and intimidation,”she said. 
Members of this AFT local are familiar with what is at issue. They’ve been fighting for years efforts by the notoriously anti-union Freedom Foundation to use the state’s disclosure laws to force college authorities to turn over names, addresses, ages and other personal information of campus employees. They say they want the information to try and get workers to quit the union.

Read the article: http://aftseattle.wa.aft.org/sites/default/files/article_pdf_files/2020-12/teachers_union_supports_swp_disclosure_fight_in_washington_-_the_militant_-_copy.pdf

Seattle Promise couldn’t have come at a better time.

Seattle Promise couldn’t have come at a better time. Despite the hurdles, the program has exceeded its pandemic-era enrollment projections. That’s even as nationally, community colleges saw a 22% dip; statewide, community college enrollment is down 13.5% this year.

This fall, Seattle Promise counted 846 students, including 699 in their first year, and 147 in their second. That represents about one-third of Seattle Public Schools’ class of 2020. And 62% are students of color.

https://www.seattletimes.com/education-lab/seattles-tuition-free-community-college-program-comes-to-the-rescue-during-the-pandemic/

OPINION: Seattle Colleges in Crisis, but Harmful Budget Cuts are not the Answer

"According to the District’s audited financial statements, six years ago, the District spent 51% of its budget on instruction and by 2018 instruction funding fell to 41% of the budget. Now, Seattle Central has announced that 75% of 2020–2021 anticipated cuts should come from instruction. If North and South take the same path, instruction could fall to barely a third of the District’s operating revenue."

https://southseattleemerald.com/2020/11/06/opinion-seattle-colleges-in-crisis-but-harmful-budget-cuts-not-the-answer/

Finally—it’s President-elect Biden

Patience—counseled by former Vice President Joe Biden all election week as Americans waited for votes to be counted—finally paid off Nov. 7, four days after Election Day, when Biden won in Pennsylvania and gained enough Electoral College votes to acquire a new title: president-elect. AFT President Randi Weingarten says the union’s leaders and members “can’t wait to get started” on the work ahead “with an administration that will embrace and fight for the values we hold dear.”

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AFT 1789 signs onto the Solidarity Budget: A Call to Action for 2021 Budget and Beyond

"We call on City leaders to pass a 2021 budget that values Black lives and moves us towards a just recovery from the overlapping crises of COVID-19, economic injustice and climate change. "

Solidarity Budget: A Call to Action for 2021 Budget and Beyond

Membership Adopts Statement Against Hate

AFT Seattle Local 1789 condemns hate and violence in all forms. We stand against white supremacy and nationalism, bigotry, racism, religious intolerance, homophobia, sexism, and immigrant bashing. The members of our faculty union vow to work for a healthy, inclusive community where the rights and safety of all are protected. We fight for social justice. We vote to defend all members of our society and to strengthen our democratic principles.

State Compensation Study

Over the past year, college administrators, union leaders and others in the Puget Sound area have been pushing for the idea of a “regional pay” adjustment to reflect cost of living in the greater Seattle area.  To that end, legislative funding was secured to conduct this study on regional pay issues to inform legislators on that topic and begin a debate. 

Key Numbers and Findings from the Study:

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Seattle Times Editorial Board Supports Better State Funding for the Colleges

On December 9, the Seattle Times Editorial Board published an opinion piece supporting better funding at the State level for community colleges across Washington.  The board acknowledged that while k-12 funding has been appropriately addressed, the community colleges have been left behind, while stll doing the heavy lifting for employment training. They call the SBCTC's $189 million request "relatively modest"

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