Staff at Seattle Community College vote for union

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Exempt employees who work at the four Seattle Community College campuses voted 68-39 on March 14 to form their own union through a secret ballot process certified by the Washington State Public Employment Relations Commission. The vote means that 156 staff who work in advising, information technology, financial aid, student outreach and other departments will be represented by the AFT Washington. Faculty at Seattle Community Colleges are already represented by AFT Washington.

"I am thrilled that there was such a strong turnout for the election, and we have come together to form our union," says Will Brucher, co-chair of the organizing committee. "I am looking forward to building a strong union that is focused on student and institutional success. It will be exciting to work with the administration to overcome any challenges."

Says AFT Washington President Karen Strickland, "This vote is testament to the fact that working people, including professionals, recognize the best route to having a voice at work and working conditions that work for them and students is a show of collective action and solidarity."

The state Legislature passed a collective bargaining law in 2007 to allow exempt administrative staff to form unions. In addition to Seattle Community Colleges, exempt staff have formed unions at Clover Park Technical College, Everett Community College and Yakima Valley College.

[AFT Washington press release]