Community college financial decision worries union

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SEATTLE (AP) -- The union that represents Washington state community college instructors is concerned about a decision to declare a financial emergency at the state's community and technical colleges.

Last month's ruling at a meeting of the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges would allow individual colleges to declare their own financial emergencies. They will then have an easier time laying off faculty without having to adhere to some contracted job protections.

The president of the Washington chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, which represents community college instructors, says the new rule will mean that full-time tenured instructors and those on the tenure-track could be laid off as easily as part-time, non-tenured teachers.

To date, no colleges have exercised the authority or announced an intention to do so.