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Lecturers to UW: Lengthy Negotiations Show "Lack of Respect"

Instructors in UW's international programs are looking for pay parity with their colleagues at the university. (UW AFT English Language Faculty)
Instructors in UW's international programs are looking for pay parity with their colleagues at the university. (UW AFT English Language Faculty)
November 14, 2018

SEATTLE — Instructors at the University of Washington are holding a picket today over negotiations with the school that have carried on for more than a year-and-a-half.

American Federation of Teachers union members in the International and English Language Programs at UW have been in talks with the university since April 2017. The instructors are asking for pay equal to their colleagues in other departments, a track toward a career at the school, and pay for extra work, such as helping graduate students learn how to teach.

Chris Moore is an extension lecturer at UW and co-president of the union.

"These things are very troubling for our members, and maybe show a lack of understanding and respect for our profession,” Moore said. “And I think that's really what is at the heart of the problem - not only dragging the negotiations on for so long, but refusing to acknowledge the value of the work that we do."

The AFT UW English Language Faculty union has one more bargaining date scheduled for Friday. University spokesperson Victor Balta said circumstances beyond the school and union's control have prolonged talks, and both sides have already agreed on an array of issues. He said he’s optimistic they'll reach an agreement on Friday.

The informational picket is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. today at Red Square on the UW Seattle campus.

Wendy Asplin is a lecturer, union co-president and a graduate of UW. She said she’s hopeful the school and her union can reach a deal, but said she and other lecturers have been disappointed so far.

"'Frustration' is the most common word I hear. We're just frustrated,” Asplin said. “And so, fatigue, frustration - they go hand in hand, but I think that's probably where most of us are right now. Not just on the negotiating team, but the entire faculty."

The International and English Language Programs help prepare international students to study at UW. Lecturers in the programs are part of the American Federation of Teachers Local 6486.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA