Connect with us


Thanks to union solidarity, Clark College jobs safe for now

The following is from the Clark College Association for Higher Education (CCAHE):

VANCOUVER, Wash. (June 5, 2023) — The Clark College faculty union and staff union, CCAHE and WPEA respectively, are breathing collective sighs of relief and thanking all of those who helped stave off cuts to three essential Clark employees including a mental health counselor, an emergency manager, and a classified staff architect.

“We are beyond grateful for all of the help we received from so many union and community members,” said CCAHE President Suzanne Southerland. “We attribute this win to multiple union actions performed jointly by WPEA and CCAHE including packing the Clark board meeting, emailing and letter writing Clark executive board members and informing the public of the potential cuts to these important services to our students.”

Clark College officials now claim that the unions should have waited for reduction-in-force decisions to be finalized, and that these union actions were an overreaction.

“To that, we say nonsense. We fight to prevent harm to our members not after our members have been harmed,” Southerland said. “Our actions helped save jobs, and Clark officials are now trying to downplay our union strength.”

AFT Washington President Karen Strickland, WEA Higher Ed Chair Sue Nightingale, WEA Higher Ed Vice Chair Suzanne Southerland, and SBCTC Executive Director Paul Francis lobbying in solidarity for full funding of Washington state community and technical colleges.

Southerland says what also helped save these three jobs was union action in Olympia that included emailing local legislators, testifying in hearings and lobbying key legislators to fully fund the state’s community and technical colleges. These efforts swayed the Legislature to fully cover inflationary increases for community and technical colleges that in the past were funded at only 85 percent.

Thanks to the Washington Education Association (WEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) lobbying efforts, these increases will be completely funded by the state for at least the next two years, saving Washington community and technical colleges millions of dollars.

“Now, in typical fashion, Clark College officials are actually taking credit for the hard work our union members and union lobbyists did in Olympia,” Southerland said. “In reality, the college leadership balked when we asked them to join our union lobbying efforts. While community college presidents from other colleges joined us in Olympia, Clark leadership couldn’t find the time. And now they can’t find the grace to thank the unions. This is yet another low point for Clark leadership.”

Ultimately, both unions are relieved for their members and the students that they serve as well as grateful for all of the help they received.

“The outcry from our community and the communication efforts of the Southwest Washington Central Labor Council undoubtedly played an integral role in saving these jobs, and we are incredibly grateful,” said WPEA steward Courtney Braddock.


The Clark College Association for Higher Education (CCAHE), an affiliate of the Washington Education Association, is the union for full-time and part-time faculty at Clark College. CCAHE represents faculty only. Clark College staff are represented by WPEA/UFCW 365.

The Stand (April 25) — Union opposes Clark College plan to cut Ukrainian counselor

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!