SEATTLE (Mar. 17, 2014) — Exempt employees who work at the four Seattle Community College campuses voted last week 68-39 to form their own union through a secret ballot process certified by the Washington State Public Employment Relations Commission in Olympia. The vote means that 156 staff who work in advising, IT, financial aid, student outreach, and other departments will be represented by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Washington. Faculty at Seattle Community Colleges are already represented by AFT Washington.
“I am thrilled that there was such a strong turnout for the election and we have come together to form our union,” said Will Brucher, the Organizing Committee Co-Chair. “I am looking forward to building a strong union that is focused on student and institutional success. It will be exciting to work with the administration to overcome any challenges,” he said.
According to AFT Washington President Karen Strickland, “This vote is testament to the fact that working people, including professionals, recognize the best route to having a voice at work and working conditions that work for them and students is a show of collective action and solidarity.”
The Legislature passed a collective bargaining law in 2007 to allow exempt administrative staff to form unions. Besides Seattle Community Colleges, exempt staff have formed unions at Clover Park Technical College, Everett Community College, and Yakima Valley College.
AFT Washington represents education employees in community and technical colleges and universities, K-12 school-related personnel, Head Start, and early childhood educators and is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers which represents 1.5 million members in K-12 education, higher education, health care, early childhood education, and public employees.