State contract rallies continue; RSVP for the big one on Aug. 31


OLYMPIA (Aug. 5, 2016) — Dozens of state employees from several community colleges descended on South Puget Sound Community College and Spokane Community College on Thursday to support a fair contract. The Community College Coalition Bargaining Team for the Washington Federation of State Employees/AFSCME held its latest negotiation session Thursday at SPSCC so members and supporters there showed management’s bargainers that it’s time for a fair contract that addresses the widening pay gap, affordable health care, workloads, and other top priorities members have identified.

As state employees across the state bargain for fair contracts, unions have been rallying members every week to show support for the bargaining teams. It’s all leading up to a major rally planned for Wednesday, Aug. 31. (See details below.)

“We’re stewards of public assets — respect our contributions,” said Tracy Stanley, a member of the union bargaining team said Thursday from Lower Columbia College and WFSE/AFSCME secretary. “An investment in classified salaries is an investment in enrollment for the colleges.”


Stanley noted that many Community College members are being priced out of high-cost areas of the state. Turnover is high as many flee to better-paying jobs in the public or private sectors. And there are fewer staff with heavier workloads because the colleges have cut staff at a much higher rate that outstrip the drop in enrollment.

The members rallying on Thursday got support from a strong ally in the Legislature, Sen. Karen Fraser (D-22nd), who told the crowd, “You all make people’s lives better and you make our economy better.”


Support all state employees bargaining for better wages on Aug. 31


OLYMPIA (July 28, 2016) — Join a coalition of unions representing state employees and community supporters of quality public services at the Invest in Washington Rally at the State Capitol at noon on Wednesday, Aug. 31. Participants will urge Governor Jay Inslee to stop the revolving door for state employment and invest in his workforce to keep Washington working for our communities.

Among the unions participating in the Aug. 31 rally are AFT Washington, AFSCME Council 28 (Washington Federation of State Employees), PTE Local 17, SEIU Local 925, Teamsters Local 117, Washington Education Association, Washington Public Employees Association/UFCW, and others. RSVP and your lunch will be provided!

There are one million more residents in Washington who need services today than in 2001, but 3,000 fewer state employees to serve our communities. Some more facts:

● Of the 60 children’s social workers working in Kent, more than 90% have left in the last three years. These are the people in our community on whom we rely to keep our children safe.

● It takes two years and costs the state $210,238 to train Occupational Safety and Health professionals, but one in three hired since 2008 have left after two years, resulting in millions of dollars to train their replacements. These are the people in our community on whom we rely to keep our workplaces safe.

● About 600 state employees leave state service every month, often due to low pay and workload.

● Fully 99% of state employees are paid below market rate.

Washington residents deserve and expect quality services. Union contract negotiations are underway including for compensation. YOU can urge the governor to support meaningful raises for state employees, ensure no more out-of-pocket costs on health insurance, and provide immediate relief of short staffing and workloads. Your voice urging him to invest in Washington will make a difference. RSVP today!

More event details (speakers, parking, etc.) to come.

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