Faculty strike at Bellingham Technical College

BELLINGHAM, Wash. - The faculty at Bellingham Technical College has gone on strike, and the college has cancelled classes for Tuesday and the duration of the walkout.

Eight thousand students found out classes were canceled at Bellingham Technical College, as teachers got out of the classroom and onto the picket line.

The Bellingham Education Association says contract negotiations ended Monday without a contract, so instructors will be on the picket line instead of class. The union says major issues are contract wording, faculty surveillance, workload, and pay.

"We are petitioning for a fair contract, a fair settlement," Tony Kuphaldt with the BEA says.

The BEA is asking for a 3 year contact with across the board faculty salary raises of 3 percent the first year, 2.5 percent the second year, and an upped stipend.

"The state has provided the funding to the tune of $240 thousand earmarked for these purposes," Kuphaldt says. "The college hasn't allocated any of that to compensation yet."

But in a statement, the school says those demands add up to far more than what's been allocated to cover salaries. The college says it wants to continue negotiating until a settlement is reached.

Bellingham Technical College has about 8,000 students. It offers 30 associate degree and 50 certificate programs. Negotiations are expected to continue later Tuesday, and if they cannot year a deal, the strike could enter at least another day.
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