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November 22, 2013 at 4:51 PM

Green River Community College faculty want increase in salaries

UPDATE: Green River Community College spokeswoman Vickie Sheehan said the college restored a 3 percent wage cut to classified staff workers earlier this year, so restoring that cut is no longer an issue. Sheehan said she was given incorrect information on Friday.

More than 150 Green River Community College faculty members presented a petition to the college’s board of trustees Thursday asking that an increase in state funding be put toward a boost in faculty salaries, particularly for adjunct faculty.

Faculty members have not gotten a cost-of-living raise since 2008. John Avery, who is chair of the transitional studies and wellness division, said six other community colleges already have voted to give faculty members raises.

At issue is a 3 percent cut in funding that the state Legislature restored to community colleges earlier this year. Green River spokeswoman Vickie Sheehan said that cut came from a salary reduction two years ago.

Sheehan said the board wants any pay increases to be negotiated as part of the union bargaining process, and not outside of that process. “We are offering to begin that process as soon as possible,” she said.

“I do know that the bargaining process is a sacred process, and we need to stick to it,” she said.

The contract for faculty members expires in June of next year, Avery said, and if a raise were approved, it wouldn’t begin appearing in paychecks until September 2014.

Green River’s faculty and administration clashed earlier this year, when 92 percent of faculty members voted they had “no confidence”  in college President Eileen Ely after three years of what they say have been unilateral changes that aim to cut them out of academic decision making.

Avery said faculty members want adjunct salaries to be a priority. Adjuncts do not earn the same salaries and benefits as full-time employees, and often work on part-time contracts.

Sheehan said all community-college employees — not just faculty members — have not received cost-of-living raises for a number of years. However, she said, staff members have gotten step increases based on their years of service, and some received raises when they were promoted to new positions.

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