February 06, 2013 Print

Cannibalize Community Colleges for Wages?

In yet another example of how Olympia favors the interest of public employees over the interests of citizens and taxpayers, legislation has been introduced to permit the cannibalization of our nationally-recognized community college system.

The bill is House Bill 1348

Key language added to state law is this:

“(2) A board of trustees shall award full-time and part-time academic employees step increases based on local agreements negotiated under this chapter. Step increases awarded by a board of trustees may exceed any compensation provided to academic employees by the legislature.”

Follow the logic:

Local union officials may negotiate wage enhancements for some community college employees even if the legislature, which provides wages, does not allocate the money for the pay increase.

Where does that money come from? Cannibalizing operations.

Fewer courses, fewer support employees, reduced hours of service, or charges to clients. In general, the service levels are guaranteed to decline so that the wages of a few can increase faster than usual.

Community and technical colleges have plenty of applicants for positions, so we know the wage is not wrong for the marketplace.

This is simply another example of how the interests of union officials—unnecessarily higher cost for the few employees they represent—clash with the public interest in great service.

The Community and Technical College system isn’t broke. Don’t fix it by making do less at a higher cost.

The bill received a public hearing February 7 at 1:30.

Update: Here is my testimony before the committee.


Jami Lund

Senior Policy Analyst

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