More than 70 percent of the faculty of the Ogden-Weber Area Vocational Center have joined the American Federation of Teachers/Utah Teachers United, designating the union as their agent for contract negotiations.
The mass move to a union is indicative of frustration with the lack of any written agreement or formal salary schedule for the vocational center employees, said Ken Zenger, state director for AFT.The OWAVC faculty had also talked with two other employee organizations and decided, on the basis of AFT successes in other parts of the country, to join the Utah affiliate.
Employees of the Ogden facility said their rather tenuous situation had created an uncomfortable condition and they felt the time had come to create a more solid method for interacting with the State Board of Education and the Office of Education, which oversee the state's area vocational centers.
James R. Moss, state superintendent of public instruction, said he expects to develop a good working relationship with the AFT.
The OWAVC board will work most directly with the union, as the board is responsible for setting faculty salaries.
Brent Cherrington, board chairman, said he also expects to have good relationships with the AFT.
Mike Bowen and Doug Threlkeld, designated faculty spokesmen for the AVC, said pay equity problems have existed for some time. AVC faculty salaries have been perceived to be lower than those of some neighboring school districts. Districts have more control over their budgets than do the AVCs. Legislative appropriations for the AVCs in recent years have not allowed them to increase salaries to the same degree the districts have.