June 12, 2014 For immediate release
Richard Moore, UW English Language Faculty President; 206-985-0942 (h); 206-650-3803
Sandra Schroeder, AFT Vice President; 206-715-1824 (c)
Peter Messinger, UW English Language Faculty; 425-308-1876 (c)
Talks Break Down: University of Washington Lecturers Still Fighting for Fair First Contract
Seattle – English Language Faculty at the University of Washington (UW) today announced talks have broken down again on their negotiations for a fair contract with the UW administration. After two weeks of progress, the sides are stuck over what amount of compensation will recompense these workers for the years of underpayment they have experienced. These faculty teach classes at the UW’s Educational Outreach International English Language Program.
Historically this group’s starting salaries were less than the UW’s published minimum salary scale. Sometimes they did not receive the same raises as other employees. Their low wages subsidized their program by as much as $200,000 a year.
According to AFT Washington president Karen Strickland, “It is unconscionable that after more than two years at the table, the UW is unwilling to recognize and act on the value of these faculty, especially the most senior faculty.”
The International English Language Program is administratively top heavy with 33 budgeted positions in program administration. There are currently only 75 budgeted faculty positions, a ratio of nearly one administrative staff for every two faculty. Figures like these have been cited in recent studies to show where the hefty tuition increases of recent years in universities have gone. The UW negotiators say the program cannot afford higher increases than they have already offered, while giving higher than normal raises to several administrators in the program.
“The administration chooses to spend a disproportionate amount of money on administrative costs and are wasting state resources by extending the negotiations process,” Strickland said. “One must question their commitment to the public good in light of these circumstances.”
The Extension Lecturers are the only employee group at the UW which has not received a wage increase since 2008. Their increases are being held hostage in hopes of pressuring them to cave into a less fair settlement than they deserve after years of inequity.
The UW English Language Faculty are represented by the American Federation of Teachers Washington (AFT Washington).
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AFT Washington, AFL-CIO represents education employees in pre-K, K-12, community and technical colleges and four-year regional universities. AFT Washington is affiliated with the 1.5 million-member American Federation of Teachers.