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Yakima Valley College faculty, staff fed up over school policies

YAKIMA (Mar. 9, 2023) — Faculty and staff members at Yakima Valley College say they’re tired of the lack of transparency and clear policies from the school. Members of three unions — AFT Yakima Locals 1485 and 6390 and the Washington Public Employees Association/UFCW 365 — representing more than 500 employees, held a press conference Tuesday to voice their discontent. (See KIMA TV coverage.)

Rachel Dorn, president of the AFT Yakima (pictured above), said the rules around promotions have are not understandable.

“The frustration is that we don’t get a reason,” Dorn said. “We’re not told why, we’re told contradictory information about what the reason is. And then when we go to tell our faculty there’s nothing you can do to set yourself up for getting a promotion because the reasons for promotion change.”

TAKE A STAND — The unions are asking the public to support them by coming to the Yakima Valley College Board of Trustees meeting TODAY (Thursday, March 9) at 4:30 p.m. at S. 16th Ave. and Nob Hill Blvd.

Equity legislation signed in 2021, SB 5194, was supposed to convert part-time faculty into ten, new full-time tenure track positions. But Dorn, who is also an instructor at the college, said the school instead moved full-time faculty on one-year contracts to tenure track.

“We’re happy to have people move to tenure track,” said Dorn. “I have no complaint about that, but that didn’t cost the college any money. Those faculty are being paid the same rate and it didn’t create new full-time positions, which is what the bill was aimed at.”

Faculty, staff, and administrators have also raised concerns about the policies surrounding harassment.

In January, according to an investigation report available through a public record request to YVC, a junior employee reported harassment to her supervisor and an HR employee on two separate occasions. The supervisor and the HR employee both, independently, reported the harassment allegation to the person who had been accused of the harassment.

“That’s not just a missing policy, or missing training, that’s a lack of common sense about how harassment and retaliation work,” Dorn said.

This year, two of the unions have filed unfair labor practice complaints with the Public Employees Relations Commission, over delays in providing requested information, delays in bargaining, and not bargaining in good faith.

“We’ve been bargaining for over a year,” said Hillary Emerson of AFT 6390, whose members have been working without a contract since July 1, 2022.

There have also been grievances over missing and rescinded contracts, and faculty weren’t paid for weeks during the summer.

“They violate so many of the items in our contracts,” said Michelle Perry of the WPEA.

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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!