EvCC union agrees to new contract

EVERETT — The union representing the non-academic staff at Everett Community College has reached an agreement with the state on a new two-year contract.

The union’s current contract doesn’t expire until June 30, but state law requires all contracts with public employee unions to be approved by Oct. 1.

Among other benefits, the new contract for 2015-17 includes a 3 percent pay increase in 2015 and a smaller bump the following year.

The agreement was reached after a marathon negotiation session. The union’s bargaining team has recommended that members vote to ratify the contract.

The deadline for voting is 5 p.m. Tuesday.

The Washington Federation of State Employees represents about 3,000 office workers, custodians, support staff and other non-faculty positions at 12 community colleges, including those in Everett, Bellingham, Shoreline and Seattle.

Faculty are represented by the American Federation of Teachers, whose contract runs until June 30, 2016.

Some of the 300 members at Everett Community College had considered a walkout if the negotiations reached an impasse.

Tim Welch, the public affairs director for the union, said that the agreement wasn’t perfect but that it will be a foundation for future contract negotiations.

More significantly, there were no significant takeaways in the new contract, Welch said.

Among the concessions the union won for the contract are:

A 3 percent pay increase in 2015.

A pay increase of either 1.8 percent or 1 percent plus 11 cents per hour, whichever is greater, in 2016.

A 2 percent pay increase for part-time employees in 2015 and 2016.

Two additional personal leave days and one additional bereavement day.

This is the first time that part-time employees have received a cost-of-living increase.

“They’ve really been mistreated ­— they’ve not had any wage increases like full time employees,” Welch said. “That’s the economy these days. There are a lot of part-time workers and they need to be treated no worse than full-time workers.”

The union also has reached agreement on a separate contract that governs health benefits for all state employees, including community college staff. It essentially preserves the status quo, including the 15 percent employees pay for premiums and no increases in point-of-service costs.

Union members have until Tuesday to ratify that contract, as well.

Both contracts will then work their way through the state’s Office of Financial Management before being included in Gov. Jay Inslee’s budget proposal next year.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165 or cwinters@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

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