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Faculty, Staff and Students Walk Out to Call for Increased Funding for Community and Technical Colleges

TUKWILA, Wash.—Frustrated with legislative inaction on investment in the state’s Community and Technical Colleges (CTCs), AFT Washington locals throughout the state are planning a week of action for April 15-18. Events include walkouts at several campuses, informational picketing, tabling, and a social media campaign.

Walkouts will be held April 16 by AFT Seattle Community Colleges, Local 1789, on all three campuses of the Seattle College District; by the Shoreline Community College Federation of Teachers, Local 1950, on the Shoreline campus; and by the Peninsula College Federation of Teachers, Local 3439, on Peninsula’s Port Angeles campus.

Informational picketing will be conducted by locals 1789 and 1950, as well as Bates Technical College, Local 4184.

Tabling will be conducted by the Pierce College Federation of Teachers, Local 4821, and the Edmonds Community College Federation of Teachers, Local 4254. The Green River College Federation of Teachers, Local 2195, will be conducting a social media campaign. In addition, the Washington Education Association-affiliated local at Bellevue College will be holding a rally. For the most up to date information, please contact Cortney Marabetta at 206-499-4826.

“We have been advocating all session for a robust investment in the community and technical colleges. Everyone recognizes the value the CTCs bring to individual lives, employers, and the economy,” said Karen Strickland, president of AFT Washington. “What has yet to be taken seriously is the dire need to support the human infrastructure that makes our colleges hum – the people who process financial aid, teach in the classroom, clean the buildings, provide counseling, and more – and to make sure students succeed. The economy is strong, and the need is great – now is the time to [Re]Invest in Our Colleges!”

The last two years have seen walkouts and strikes across the country, as educators call for increased investment in their schools. AFT Washington’s locals are no exception: At the start of the session, AFT Washington introduced a funding bill, HB 1300, that called for $500 million in permanent funding for the CTCs. That bill did not make it out of committee, but the need for increased funding remains, and faculty and staff are tired of being passed over by the Legislature.

The goal of the week of action is to send a clear message to legislators: CTC faculty and staff are frustrated with the decade-plus of inaction on investment in the CTCs, and they want legislators, as they finalize the budget for the 2019-2021 biennium, to invest in the community and technical colleges.

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