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New Union Members for Seattle Community College

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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.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WA