UW Extension Lecturers Approve Union

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For Immediate Release                                                                              March 25, 2011     

Contact: Sandra Schroeder, President, 206-715-1824 (c); Sylvia Watson, Communications, 206-261-3603 (c)

UW Extension Lecturers Approve Union
First lecturers at UW to unionize

SEATTLE – Extension Lecturers at the University of Washington (UW) have overwhelmingly agreed -- by 83 percent -- to unionize. The Washington State Public Employment Relations Commission certified this week that 56 out of 67 approved unionization – the state’s first bargaining unit of its kind.

The extension lecturers, who teach classes at the UW’s Educational Outreach English Language Program, filed a petition for union recognition three years ago. The university, however, challenged their right to unionize because the lecturers did not have an established public job classification. They are employed through quarter-to-quarter or one-year contracts. After initial resistance, the administration agreed to exempt them from civil service so they could organize under a collective bargaining law passed in 2009 that allowed exempt higher education employees to unionize.

“For years, our voice was not represented at the UW,” said Richard Moore, who has taught English, English-as-a-Second Language, and Business English for 17 years at the university. “It’s been a long time and we encountered a number of roadblocks, but we are looking forward to working with the administration to bargain the conditions that will enhance our working environment and our students’ learning experience.” 

The UW Extension Lecturers will be represented by the American Federation of Teachers Washington (AFT Washington).

AFT Washington president Sandra Schroeder said, “I have worked with these teachers since 2006 to find a pathway to representation. They have been steadfast and committed in their desire for a voice at the university. We are pleased that the university has at last responded to their request, and we are proud to have them as members of the AFT family.”

AFT Washington, AFL-CIO represents 6,500 education employees in two- and four-year community and technical colleges and universities, K-12 school-related personnel, Head Start, and early childhood educators. AFT Washington is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers which represents 1.5 million members in K-12 education, higher education, health care, early childhood education, and public service.

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