Students and staff from several Washington community and technical colleges are planning demonstrations tomorrow (4/11).

Walkouts, rallies and marches will take place to call attention to salaries that the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) say aren't equal to those in the K-12 system.

"We are seeking part-time pay equity. We don't have any funding allocated for that. However, the Senate budget does include an amendment that puts in a statute of what pay equity means and the need to develop a plan to get to it." AFT president Karen Strickland said.

According to Strickland, somewhere between 65% and 70% of teaching staff are adjunct and earn as little as 52% of what a full-time person makes for teaching the same class.

"We've determined that 85% would be fair. And that means that 15% of a full-time workload is non instructional. When a part time faculty is hired to teach a class, they're teaching the class, they don't have committee work, they don't have the other things that go along with being a full-time faculty, but the teaching portion of a full-time job is about 85%. So that's what part time faculty should earn as well." Strickland said.

In addition to pay equity, Strickland hopes tomorrow's call to action inspires greater focus on mental health counseling at the community and technical college level.

"There were four colleges that ended up with pilot projects to increase mental health counseling. This is something that we wanted to expand this year. At this point, it looks like there will be continuation of the four and maybe another couple of projects could be started. But there's a huge need there for students to have access." Strickland said.

There are 34 community and technical colleges around Washington State. Yakima Valley Community College is the only school east of the Cascades with participants heading to Olympia.

Wenatchee Valley College is not taking part in demonstrations.

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