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Lift ban on using local funds for college faculty step increases

Statewide call-in day Tuesday to urge Baumgartner to move HB 1863


OLYMPIA (Mar. 23, 2015) — Like many public employees, it’s been six years since community and technical college faculty have received a cost-of-living pay adjustment. To make matters worse, they have not received step increases on their salary schedule for six years.

AFT-step-up-for-educationThese step increases, or salary increments, are earned through professional development and experience and are negotiated at the local college level as part of their bargaining agreement. While the college promises these step increases, they cannot fund them because state law prohibits using local funds for salaries. Only the State Legislature can fund them, and they haven’t been granted by the state since 2008.

While state funding for higher education has been declining since the 1990’s, local funds — which include tuition — have increased by double digits. In fact, local funds now account for more than 50 percent of the budget in 21 of the 34 community and technical colleges.

HB 1863, sponsored by Rep. Chris Reykdal (D-Olympia), would allow colleges to use local funds to fulfill the bargaining agreements they negotiate with faculty unions. It would create a shared responsibility between the colleges and the state for investing in both part- and full-time faculty. More than that, it will create a fair, stable, and accountable funding stream. (See a fact sheet on the bill.)

The House passed HB 1863 on a bipartisan vote of 64-34, with 13 House Republicans joining to vote for its passage. But since March 10, it has been sitting in the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee chaired by Sen. Michael Baumgartner (R-Spokane).

AFT Washington and the Washington Education Association (WEA) are promoting a statewide call-in day on Tuesday, March 24, anytime between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The goal is to get 1,863 calls made to Sen. Baumgartner asking him to hold a public hearing and to pass HB 1863 out of committee before the April 1 cut-off date.

TAKE A STAND! It doesn’t make sense to keep these local funds off limits anymore. Please join faculty on Tuesday by dialing toll-free at 855-778-0949 anytime between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to help maximize the volume of calls. The message is simple; you’re calling in solidarity with community and technical college faculty and urging Sen. Baumgartner to pass HB 1863 out of the Commerce and Labor Committee. Thank you.

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!