Clark College classified staff and the Washington Public Employees Association waved signs near Fourth Plain and Fort Vancouver Way today to protest the college’s handling of its budget deficit, including recommendations to cut classified staff and outsource jobs.
A Seattle consulting firm that the college contracted in February recommended outsourcing dozens of jobs to cut costs including groundskeepers and maintenance crews as well as information technology staff. The consulting firm’s report also recommended eliminating some instructional staff while adding some positions and shifting duties and departments of others, resulting in a total reduction of 90.7 staff. That’s about a fifth of Clark College’s 458 nonfaculty employees.
Late last month, the college said eliminating jobs and outsourcing was the only place it could find savings due to decreased enrollment. However, college officials also said they will not consider the outsourcing proposal before filling two new roles in the human resources department.
Leaders with the Washington Public Employees Association rebuked the consulting firm’s report. Sarah Thorsen, the union’s chief job steward, said the significant elimination and outsourcing of classified employees is tantamount to union busting. She questioned why the college isn’t looking to remove high-level administrators rather than putting cuts on the backs of lower-paid classified workers.