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Colleges see big drop in foreign-language enrollment; Kentucky advocates say it's time to bury medical debt; Young Farmers in Michigan hope the new farm bill will include key benefits regarding land access.

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The White House presses for supplemental Ukraine aid. Leaders condemn antisemitic attacks during Gaza ceasefire protests. Despite concerns about the next election, one Arizona legal expert says courts generally side with voters and democracy.

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Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

New Union Members for Seattle Community College

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Thursday, March 20, 2014   

SEATTLE – Seattle Community College has become the fourth community or technical college in the state where employees in a variety of administrative roles have decided to bargain collectively for their wages and benefits.

They'll be part of AFT Washington, after a vote last week to form a union.

Will Brucher, co-chair of the organizing committee, says the vote wasn't the result of any particular problems with school management. He explains the new union’s members had just worked for years side-by-side with others on campus that were union members, and liked what they saw.

"I think any time workers are able to come together and have a voice to represent their interests and also the interests of the wider community, the wider middle class, I think that's a very positive thing," he adds.

According to Brucher, since the workers come from so many different departments across four campuses, they decided that combining their efforts could help ensure fair pay and benefits, as well as more opportunities for professional development.

"We're also doing these jobs to really support the mission of the community college system,” he says. “We want the programs that the college runs to succeed, and we think unionizing will help us in that mission by creating some stability for our jobs."

Brucher says the group of more than 150 includes workers in IT, student outreach, financial aid offices and other support services – so the first contract will have to reflect that diversity.

The group is in the process of selecting its first bargaining committee.



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