Union Activist Questions Motives Behind Her Layoff
A union activist at Spokane Falls Community College says she’s being laid off for her labor activities, not because of budget cuts.
Debby Stanard, a media specialist earning $22,000 a year, officially is losing her job as part of an effort to trim expenses at the college.
Stanard also is a shop steward in her union, and has worked to increase the number of union members on the staff, she said.
“I truly believe I’m being singled out for my union activities,” she said.
Her job is one of two non-teaching positions being cut at SFCC this year.
In other cuts, the college is phasing out its radio broadcast program, and its radio station will be taken off the air next year. Those and other cuts are designed to save $500,000 this school year.
SFCC President Vern Loland said Stanard is not losing her job because of union activities. “It has nothing to do with that at all,” he said.
Loland declined to discuss Stanard’s case because she has filed six grievances in an effort to block her layoff.
Stanard is in charge of programming the college’s cable television channel, which features educational broadcasts.
Loland said other employees will handle her duties.
Stanard was notified of her layoff on July 20 after more than six years of full-time employment. She is a graduate of SFCC’s television production program, and began working for the college in 1986 as a work-study student.
In recent years, Stanard said she has worked to increase membership in the Washington Federation of State Employees, the bargaining union for non-teaching staff.
“What they are actually doing is testing the strength of the union,” she said.
Loland said he has worked with unions throughout his career. “Unions are a fact of academic life,” he said.
Stanard has two other grievances pending because a supervisor asked her to work overtime, and then refused to give her extra pay. Instead, she was supposed to take compensatory time off, she said.
Stanard served on a 12-member council that recommended budget cuts to Loland last spring.
Those recommendations included elimination of two non-teaching jobs.
At the time, Stanard did not know she would be one of them.
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