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Bellingham Education Association News Release, 9/29/13

Bellingham Technical College instructors ratify new contract, end strike

Striking Bellingham Technical College faculty members have ratified a new collective bargaining agreement with the BTC administration, ending their six-day strike.

Salaries, workload and surveillance were the major sticking points.

The new contract includes a 2.5 percent pay increase, higher stipends, pay raises for adjunct faculty, longevity bonuses, workload improvements and no changes in language regarding the covert surveillance of faculty members. Total salary increases range from 2.5 percent to 8.2 percent.

The strike started Sept. 24 and was the first public college faculty strike in Washington since 1988, according to records.

Negotiators reached the three-year contract agreement Saturday night. Union leaders said the new contract is the first step toward dramatically changing the relationship between college employees and the administration.

“We’re serious about wanting to improve our college,” said Don Anderson, a faculty member who served on the union bargaining team.

Support staff members represented by Bellingham Educational Support Team (BEST) also have ratified a new contract. Employees will receive at least a 5.3 percent salary increase over the life of the four-year contract, in addition to one-time salary enhancements totaling about 1.5 percent. Support employees were not on strike, but they honored the faculty picket lines and did not work during the strike.

“BEST leadership is proud of the way our members stood united during these intense contract negotiations. We look forward to getting back to work and supporting our students and faculty colleagues,” said Diane Kanda, a college employee and BEST bargainer.

Contact: Rich Wood, 253-376-1007