Bellevue Technical College announced late Thursday that the college and the teachers' union BEST have reached an agreement in the current teachers' strike. Classes are set to resume on Friday, September 29.
The Board of Trustees will vote on its approval at a special board meeting next week. Once the contract is approved, details of the contract and the settlement will be released.
Before the announcement, administrators at Bellingham Technical College say they planned to ask a judge to order striking staffers back to work if an agreement wasn't reached by Friday.
Fifty-six support staff from Bellingham Technical College were on strike. About the same number of faculty have refused to cross the picket line, effectively shutting the school down since Monday.
The strikers want better pay and working conditions. The school says those workers are already paid more than 12% above their peers at other tech schools in the state.
However, union spokeswoman Alyssa Jones says turnover at BTC is high and respect for their work is low.
“It says to me there's no opportunities here. We're working to give our community opportunities, but employees aren’t given those same opportunities,” she said.
The workers, who include admissions clerks and IT workers, last walked out four years ago over many of the same issues. During that strike, BTC sought an injunction ordering the staff back to work, and it's willing to do the same this time.
“We have a court date for Monday, although no papers have been filed. We do remain very hopeful that we will get a settlement and agreement,” said college spokeswoman Marni Saling Mayer.
University President Dr. Kim Perry has been targeted by the union. A letter posted to the union's Facebook page called her administration "disconnected and willingly authoritarian."
The last time BTC sought a court order, the judge ruled against it.
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