Bellingham Technical College staff vote to strike Monday

The following is from the Washington Education Association:

BELLINGHAM (Sept. 22, 2017) — Non-faculty employees at Bellingham Technical College have voted to strike Monday, Sept. 25, if the BTC Board of Trustees continues its refusal to offer a fair contract settlement. College staff and their supporters plan to protest at the Board’s meeting Thursday at 9 a.m. The meeting is in the college’s College Services Building Board Room.

Earlier this week, members of the Bellingham Educational Support Team (BEST), voted to reject the Board’s latest proposal, which fell far short of providing the competitive, professional pay employees are seeking. BEST is affiliated with the statewide 92,000-member Washington Education Association, which represents K-12 teachers, support staff and higher education employees. More than 100 other WEA local associations have successfully negotiated new contracts this year, including several higher education unions.

The BTC Board of Trustees includes Jim Groves, James Cunningham, Debbie Ahl, Lisa Woo and Jeff Callender. Groves, Cunningham, Ahl and Woo were on the Board when BTC faculty went on strike over pay in 2013.

BTC faculty only narrowly averted a strike last year. Concerns remain among staff and faculty about administrative salary increases, the college’s multi-million-dollar financial reserve and numerous costly college expenditures widely viewed as fiscally irresponsible.

BEST represents office staff, technical workers and other support employees at BTC. Classes began Sept. 19.

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