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Federation of Head Start Employees forced to take pay reductions to care for their children

Olympia, WA – The members of Federation of Head Start Employees, Local 6153 of AFT, is calling upon ESD 113’s administration to honor Head Start’s mission of bringing working families out of poverty by keeping their own employees out of poverty. The district has told employees that they must return to in-person work, regardless of employees’ caregiving needs or COVID-19 risk status. Even though there is still plenty of remote work to be done because they are returning in a hybrid model, the district is insisting all work must be done at school sites. Working parents who cannot return full-time because their own children are hybrid or fully remote must use leave without pay (LWOP) once their PTO runs out; those at high risk would have to apply for unemployment. The district has relented under union pressure to allow one day per week remote work, but this would still leave working parents and high-risk individuals facing pay cuts of up to $2,000 by one estimate.

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.

Statement on White Supremacist Violence in Charlottesville, VA

The torches, Nazi salutes and flags, weapons, and racist words expressed by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, this weekend are yet more incidents signaling that institutionalized and individual racism is alive and well in our country. The terrorist act of a young man resulting in the death of Heather Heyer and the injuries of 18 others demands that we finally, fully acknowledge the extreme threat posed by white supremacy. from Karen Strickland, President of AFT Washington, AFL-CIO

House Budget Proposal Is a Subpar Investment in CTCs

Tukwila, WA – The House budget proposal for the 2019-2020 biennium was released today, and it contained a level of investment for Community and Technical Colleges (CTCs) that is subpar enough that it can’t be considered the minimum investment necessary. The state’s funding priorities, particularly on such issues as hard-to-hire faculty, the Washington College Grant (formerly the State Need Grant) and the Working Connections Child Care for Student Parents program, are laudable in themselves, and desperately needed, but do not represent a solid investment in the CTCs.

American Federation of Teachers Washington on Governor Inslee’s Proposed Budget

Tukwila, WA -- AFT Washington supports Governor Inslee’s budget proposal for the 2019 budget year.

Karen Strickland, president of AFT Washington said, “We are very pleased with the revenue proposals that help to balance our regressive tax system and raise much-needed revenue. The Governor’s budget funds several important investments ranging from behavioral healthcare to the environment to healthcare. While we appreciate the investments in education that he proposes, this budget falls short on investments in Community and Technical College employees, who earn well below market rate salaries, of whom too many are adjunct faculty and of whom too few are counselors.”

Strikes and shutdowns

In Los Angeles, UTLA members took to the picket lines because their schools are starved of resources. In Washington, D.C., President Trump has shut down the government to secure his border wall. In her monthly New York Times column, AFT President Randi Weingarten writes that when our elected leaders fail, whether by not funding public schools or by shutting down services that provide for our safety, they strike at the very heart of what makes us a democratic republic. Read the full column.

AFT Washington on Recent School Strikes

American Federation of Teachers Washington on Recent School Strikes

Tukwila -- AFT Washington stands in solidarity with the K-12 public school strikes and our sisters and brothers from the Washington Education Association in their efforts to get a fair contract.

Karen Strickland, president of AFT Washington, said “This is about respect and building the middle class. For decades teachers and school-support employees, whether in K-12 or higher education, have been undervalued and underpaid for their work. Educators should earn enough to have economic security and take care of their families.”

Struggling in a ‘strong’ economy

In her monthly New York Times column, AFT President Randi Weingarten highlights the massive gap between President Trump’s rhetoric and reality.  While the well-to-do are doing very well in the current economy, working Americans have been left behind. Weingarten demands leaders take action to benefit all Americans by ensuring accessible, affordable healthcare for all; reining in college debt; and adequately funding public education. Read the full column.