Save the Dates! Union Summer School Sept. 3-4

TESC Logo2014Updated August 13, 2014. Greetings UFE members. We hope you are having a great summer. On SEPTEMBER 3-4, 2014  from 9 a.m.- 5 p.m., the UFE will host a two-day “Union Summer School” where we will meet and work with Gary O’Neil, Higher Ed Organizer (UFWS/WEA) and Sarah Laslett from the WA State Labor Education and Research Center. We will discuss bargaining initiatives currently in play, explore organizing strategies, examine contract issues, conduct role-plays and even sing a few songs! We will also meet with Bill Lyne, UFWS President who will address faculty union issues in Washington, ranging from those impacting our sister UFWS unions to the legislative process and challenges we face.

Our summer school will take place at the WSLC Bldg in Olympia (906 Columbia St. SW). There will be a potluck lunch, so bring a yummy dish to share. Attached here is a tentative agenda. Please email your RSVP to Grace or Anne. We sure hope you can attend all or part of the UFE Summer School!

Thanks so much.
Grace Huerta, UFE Chair & Anne Fischel, UFE Union School/Steward

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Updated June 12-July 8, 2014. The TESC Board of Trustees and the UFE ratified the 2014-15 Tentative Agreement on June 12. We look forward to working positively with the College next fall as we follow through on the adjunct/part-time (APT) faculty and curriculum cohort model (CCM) study groups, particularly as they relate to faculty working conditions, student recruitment and retention, and shared governance.

Also, the UFE election has been completed. Garnering over 90% of the membership vote, the 2014-16 Coordinating Committee (as of July 1) consists of:  Grace Huerta, Chair; Jon Davies, Vice-Chair; Liza Rognas, Treasurer; Laurie Meeker, Communications; Elizabeth Williamson, Stewards Coordinator; and At-Large Representatives: Stephen Beck and Al Josephy.

Also elected were UFE Stewards Council members: John Baldridge, Stephen Beck, Savvina Chowdhury, Jon Davies, Marla Elliott, Judith Gabriele, Anne Fischel, Grace Huerta, Al Josephy, Cynthia Kennedy, Paul McMillin, Laurie Meeker, Carolyn Prouty, Liza Rognas, Martha Rosemeyer, Arlene Sandifer, Rebecca Sunderman, Michael Vavrus, Richard Weiss, Elizabeth Williamson, Greg Mullins, David Wolach, Anthony Zaragoza, Peter Bohmer, Peter Bacho.

On July 8, UFE members met with the United Faculty of WA State Coordinating Council in Seattle. The council, comprised of faculty union leadership from Central Washington University, Eastern Washington University and Western Washington University discussed federal, state and local trends regarding state higher education funding, collaboration with administration, and most importantly, student support strategies.

On July 9-10 and July 16-17, the Latina/o Student Retention and Outreach Faculty Institutes launched. The focus of this initiative, first introduced by the UFE during our Spring 2014 bargaining sessions, seeks to develop a strategic plan to support and retain Latina/o students at Evergreen. Topics include: the historical context of TESC Latina/o retention and outreach efforts, understanding Latina/o students; identifying best practices among Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) of higher education; designing culturally relevant teaching strategies and critical pedagogy, and developing collaborations with TESC student support services, K-12 schools, and our local communities.

Lastly, the UFE Union School II is in the works, with a planning team led by Elizabeth Williamson, Anne Fischel and Carolyn Prouty. Save the dates–September 3-4. Stay tuned for specific times and agenda.

THANK YOU everyone for your service to our union. This is not easy work, but your efforts to support one another and our students is certainly valued.

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Updated June 10, 2014. Hi colleagues. It’s not too late to vote! Voting continues TODAY, Tuesday, June 10 from 10-1 in the CAB Lobby (across from the info desk). Just stop by, as we will have ballots there. This voting period proceeds the Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday, June 12 where the Trustees consider the ratification vote.

Visit the UFE website at: http://www.ufevergreen.org/ for an overview of the TA (i.e. digest: 2014 CBA Digest_FIN ). The entire Agreement is also available for your review here: CBA14-15.

Mil gracias,

Grace Huerta, UFE Communications

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Updated June 4, 2014. The UFE Coordinating Committee and Stewards Council reviewed and discussed the 2014-15 Tentative Agreement on June 4. Both groups voted unanimously to ratify the one-year Agreement. The Agreement will now be discussed at our UFE Membership Meeting on Friday, June 6 from 5-7 p.m. in Sem II-B1107. Voting by the membership begins directly after the meeting and continues in the CAB Lobby (across from the Info Desk) on Saturday, June 7 from 12-2; Monday, June 9 from 4-6; and Tuesday, June 9 from 10-1. An overview of the Tentative Agreement (i.e. digest: 2014 CBA Digest_FIN ), as well as the entire Agreement are available for your review here: CBA14-15.

PLEASE PLAN TO ATTEND YOUR MEMBERSHIP MEETING AND VOTE!

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BREAKING NEWS: Tentative Agreement Reached on CBA 2014-15. June 2-3. The UFE Bargaining Team has reached a tentative agreement on a one-year Collective Bargaining Agreement. The agreement goes into effect upon ratification by the UFE membership and the Board of Trustees. It will remain in effect until Aug. 31, 2015. The Bargaining Team has created a Digest (Summary and Highlights) for your review. See the following link: 2014 CBA Digest_FIN . The full text of the new CBA can be found here: CBA14-15.

During the bargain, members of the administration presented information to the UFE team regarding significantly lower student enrollments, resulting in lower revenues. As a result, the parties agreed to approach the bargain in a more modest fashion.

A highlight of the contract is a new Summer Institute model to be funded with $50,000 providing up to four days of paid Summer Institute work for each faculty member. These institutes provide faculty with institutional support to strengthen the curriculum and collegial connections and to address student recruitment and retention.

In addition, there were two important areas of mutual interest that required further discussion and future negotiations, scheduled for next winter. To that end, both parties agreed to create two important joint UFE-administrative committees. The first is to explore a Curricular Cohort Model (CCM): the committee will study the CCM proposed by TESC at the bargaining table and includes opportunities for widespread consideration among the faculty at large. The CCM proposes to provide faculty an alternative for what are now individual responsibilities for team teaching and teaching students at all levels. The CCM provides faculty with the opportunity to organize into groups that would cover introductory, intermediate, and advanced curriculum.

The second joint committee will address adjunct and part-time regular faculty issues, including but not limited to, long-term adjunct faculty transition, review, portfolio, and compensation. The committee will make recommendations by mid-winter quarter to the respective bargaining teams to consider in either a MOU or upcoming bargain.

The ratification process is also spelled out in our UFE bylaws. The Bargaining Team recommends ratification to the Coordinating Committee and Stewards Council who are scheduled to meet on Wednesday June 4 from 4-5pm in COM 308. Then, the Tentative Agreement is discussed at a Membership Meeting, scheduled for Friday June 6 from 5-7pm in SemII B1107. Voting begins directly after the meeting and will continue Saturday through Tuesday. Check the website for polling places which will be posted soon. Ratification of the TA will occur if there is an affirmative vote by a majority of UFE members voting within the voting deadline. The new CBA will go into effect when the UFE membership and TESC Board of Trustees have ratified and signed the document.

Special thanks goes to all the members of the UFE Bargaining Team for their hard work and perseverance in difficult times, and very special thanks goes to Gary McNeil for his leadership and judgment. The UFE Bargaining Team includes: Jon Davies, John Baldridge, Al Josephy, Grace Huerta, Laurie Meeker, Stephen Beck and Gary McNeil.

We will be bargaining again next year and look forward to your continued support.

Jon Davies, UFE Bargaining Team Chair

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Bargaining Update: May 28-Sunday, June 1, 2014. Bargaining continued late Sunday night, June 1, as your team presented counter offers to the administration. Given the enrollment and budgetary concerns of the college, we have offered numerous problem-solving strategies to confront these issues, as well as suggested ideas for strategic investments specific to faculty development. The team also continued to address such topics as: summer institutes, adjunct job security and medical leave, the senior faculty salary grid, as well as planning unit and curriculum concerns, to name a few. Bargaining continues on Monday, June 2. A membership meeting and ratification are forthcoming, we hope, very soon. So stay tuned.

On another note, please make sure to vote! Ballots were mailed to UFE members last week. According to UFE By-laws, they need to be postmarked by June 2.

Thanks so much everyone for your engagement with many complex issues impacting our campus, our students, and staff this quarter and year. Onward we go!

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Membership Mtg Update: May 18, 2014. Thank you all for attending our membership meeting on May 16. There is never a dull moment! We provided a bargaining update and highlighted the struggles when addressing the priorities you–the faculty–identified in our guild card campaign.

By this, we refer to the priorities you reported to us: adjunct equity/multi-year contracts (i.e. transitional policy, historical workloads, transparency of the hiring process); faculty development (i.e. institutes, planning unit support, sabbaticals, conference travel); compensation and workload concerns (curriculum support, teaching partners and governance responsibilities); as well as the need for a transparent, dual career accommodation policy. Many of these issues we have researched extensively, and yet, we have not had the opportunity to discuss them at the table. Why? We have sought to be responsive to the College’s enrollment concerns.

During this membership meeting, UFE president Laurie Meeker and VP Jon Davies provided a detailed analysis of the issues at hand. They noted the UFE’s approach to problem solving when addressing enrollment issues while at the same time, striving to address faculty priorities. This is illustrated by our Latina/o Outreach and Retention proposal (see: UFE-Latin@-Initiative-2). In this initiative, the UFE proposes that the College support a Latina/o student outreach and retention initiative by generating a long-term strategic plan and infrastructure that includes the faculty as a major partner in this effort. Such efforts also reflect the data collected during our guild card campaign where faculty prioritized such interests as: adjunct job security, ongoing professional development for faculty (i.e. institutes), and curriculum planning support (i.e. planning unit coordinators). It is through this initiative, among others, that we hope to address some of these targets.

Other issues addressed at the meeting included gathering members’ responses to  administrative proposals, organizing our upcoming election proceedings, and Union Summer School II planning (tentative dates include a two-day session on Sept. 2-3). Members will receive more information about all of these issues, particularly the bargaining session, very soon.

At present, we are in need of candidates for stewards, as well as organizers for the Summer Union School. Please email Elizabeth Williamson (for stewards) or Anne Fischel (Union School organizers) if you are willing to serve or have a recommendation or questions. Thank you for your support.

Grace Huerta, UFE Communications.

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Updated May 5, 2014. SAVE THE DATE for our UFE Membership Meeting on Fri. May 16, from 5-7 p.m. in Sem II C1107.  Agenda items will include:  a bargaining update, a discussion of the election process, and planning for our upcoming UFE summer school. Light refreshments will be provided. Please join us!

Bargaining continues this month with an emphasis on enrollment changes and possible strategies to address them. This urgency has impacted our negotiations and collaborations with administration. (For example, see the recommendations by Dr. Theresa Aragon’s 2010 report regarding Latina/o student recruitment and retention issues: Hispanic_Latina_o Student TESC Report_Aragon).  Nevertheless, we are especially mindful of the faculty data and feedback UFE stewards collected during our fall “Guild Card” campaign. This data helped inform our bargaining priorities (which were shared at our Jan. 31 membership meeting and during the April 9 faculty meeting). These priorities include: the need for adjunct equity; multiyear contracts; faculty development (i.e. sabbaticals, conference travel); dual career accommodations, and compensation and workload (curriculum support, teaching partners and governance responsibilities).

Other news: the UFE will soon be holding elections for new officers in June. We invite you to SERVE YOUR UNION. Please feel free to send names of nominees for such leadership positions and stewards to Laurie Meeker: meekerl@earthlink.net.

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Fall–Winter quarter update. In preparation for collective bargaining (which began on March 3, 2014) over 135 faculty conversations were conducted and guild cards were collected by our UFE stewards.  During the fall and winter campaign, 70% of the TESC faculty  provided feedback. Issues emanating from this data informed our bargaining preparations These topics included: adjunct equity, faculty professional development, compensation, workload, meeting professional responsibilities (i.e. teaching partners and core) and dual career accommodation policies.

During our January 31, 2014 forum, UFE chair Laurie Meeker also announced the members of the 2014 Collective bargaining team. “Team Green” includes: John Baldridge (Half-Time, Regular Faculty Member); Stephen Beck (Adjunct Faculty Member); Jon Davies (Full-Time, Regular Faculty Member; Grad Programs; Bargaining Team Chair);  Grace Huerta (Full-Time, Regular Faculty Member); Al Josephy (Adjunct Faculty Member); Gary McNeil (WA Educators Association, Lead Negotiator, Higher Education) and; Laurie Meeker (Full-Time Regular Faculty Member; UFE Chair).

Stay tuned to your stewards for updates as the team engages in this important work in behalf of the faculty.

Grace Huerta, UFE Communications.

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ALL Faculty/UFE Collective Bargaining Forum_Jan. 31 From 5-7 p.m. in Sem 2-C1107!

Updated Jan. 16, 2014. The UFE will be hosting an all-faculty collective bargaining forum on Friday, January 31 from 5-7 in Sem 2 C1107. The purpose of this forum is introduce the 2014 Bargaining Team and to discuss the bargaining process. This forum will serve as a kick-off to the bargaining of our next contract. We invite your feedback, questions and ideas regarding our working conditions at Evergreen. Stay tuned for more information about our forum.

“Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other.”
Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

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eForum on the Working Conditions of Contingent Faculty in Higher Education

Updated Dec. 18, 2013.  The Honorable George Miller (CA-D), Senior Democrat, Committee on Education and the Workforce, is collecting the stories of contingent faculty (and former contingent faculty) in higher education. The committee wants to hear your stories and invites your participation in an eForum.

The eForum, described briefly below, can be found at: http://democrats.edworkforce.house.gov/eforum

The deadline to submit your story is this Friday, Dec. 20, 2013. Selected stories, or excerpts, will be published online. Names will not be published without your permission. Here is a general description of the eForum:

Even while college tuition has soared, reports point to the growing use of low-paid contingent faculty and instructors in higher education. The House Committee on Education and the Workforce Democrats are interested in learning more about the working conditions of the over one million contingent faculty and instructors at U.S. institutions of higher education, including part-time adjunct professors and graduate teaching assistants, and how those working conditions may impact students’ education. We are seeking comments from contingent faculty and instructors and their representatives on some or all of the following questions:

•    For how long have you worked as a contingent faculty or instructor?

•    How would you describe the working conditions of contingent faculty and instructors at your college or university, including matters like compensation, benefits, opportunities for growth and advancement, job stability, and administrative and professional support?

•    How do those conditions help or hinder your ability to earn a living and have a stable and successful career in higher education? What impact, if any, do those working conditions have on students or higher education generally?

•    How do those working conditions help or hinder your ability to do your job, or how do they otherwise affect students in achieving their educational goals?

Check it out!

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Nelson Mandela: A Union Man.

Updated Dec. 6, 2013. By John Nichols, The Nation

Nelson Mandela was a union man.

Long aligned with the Congress of South African Trade Unionists, Mandela framed his presidency with a declaration that: “The kind of democracy that we all seek to build demands that we deepen and broaden the rights of all citizens. This includes a culture of workers’ rights.”

In South Africa, as a young campaigner for racial justice, Mandela was profoundly influenced by the 1946 African Mine Workers Union strike. He learned organizing skills from AMWU activists and would become a champion of the miners, telling workers, “It is your sweat and blood that has created the vast wealth that white South Africa enjoys.”

Mandela, the African National Congress leader, Nobel Prize winner and first president of the new South Africa, who died Thursday at age 95, recognized the organization of workers as a part of the freedom struggle and of the formation of a just society.

Unlike so many leaders who rise of power with the support of organized labor but then distance themselves from the movement, Mandela never broke the bond. He proudly served to the end of his days as the honorary president of South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers. He declared himself to be “fully committed to the protection of the integrity of the collective bargaining system.” And he spoke movingly about how the “international solidarity of workers of the world enables us to learn from each other, to support each other and strengthen our ties in the face of multinational strategies for profit maximization and exploitation.”

For generations to come, there will wide-ranging and appropriate discussion of Mandela’s remarkable contributions to our understanding of freedom, democracy, tolerance and basic human relations.

Yet, it is that understanding of international solidarity that comes to mind when people ask me about the years when I covered Mandela in South Africa and on his global travels. I saw it most powerfully during his remarkable twelve-day visit to the United States in 1990, which came just four months after his release from the Victor Verster Prison. Mandela addressed the Congress and the United Nations and visited with the president of the New York Stock Exchange. And he went to Detroit, where he was determined to thank members of United Auto Workers Local 600 for their early and militant opposition to apartheid.

The machines stopped at the Ford Motor Company’s River Rouge plant in Dearborn in June 1990. Workers held aloft unfurled “Local 600” banners to welcome the South African leader on what was dubbed his “Freedom Tour.” When Mandela finally appeared, he was greeted by United Auto Workers president Owen Bieber and vice president Ernie Lofton. Mandela recalled the struggle to organize the plant in the 1930s and told the assembled workers: “It is you who have made the United States of America a superpower, a leader of the world.”

Bieber produced a UAW lifetime membership card and Mandela held it aloft, displaying it to the cheering crowd of autoworkers. Then, wearing a UAW jacket and hat, a beaming Mandela stepped to the microphone and declared, “Sisters and brothers, friends and comrades, the man who is speaking is not a stranger here. The man who is speaking is a member of the UAW. I am your flesh and blood.”

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Evergreen Strike Rally #1

Updated Nov. 21, 2013. The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association (PNLHA)  has announced the dates for its annual 2014 conference. The conference will be held June 13-15, 2014 in Cumberland, BC in conjunction with the annual Miners’ Memorial celebration.

The association’s members include trade unionists, students, academics, and others who believe the labor movement must know where it has been and where it is going. Visit the PNLHA website for more information: http://pnlha.wordpress.com/

The PNLHA has also published it 2014 Labor History calendar and it looks awesome. Check out this link and order yours now!

http://www.pnlha.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/2014calendar-ratesheet.pdf

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Updated Nov. 1, 2013.  UFE Membership Meeting! Thanks for Your Participation! Thanks everyone for attending our fall membership meeting. We are continuing our work that builds upon the campaign, “The Faculty Owns the Curriculum.” Topics of discussion included strategies to prepare for our next bargaining session, a budget analysis, a report concerning the recent fall labor/management meeting, and an overview of last summer’s successful Union School. Thanks for your participation!

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Updated Oct. 30, 2013. Greetings UFE members. Our fall membership meeting will be on Friday, Nov. 1 in Sem 2A 1107 from 5-7 p.m.

Agenda items for our membership meeting include: a labor/mgmt report and discussion of current issues (i.e. faculty hiring issues, governance hours, faculty development & travel), the fall faculty outreach campaign (with emerging themes from our colleagues), a UFE budget review, and preparation for our next collective bargaining session (with a close reading of key contract language). Please join us for important dialogue and snacks! Bring your contract!

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Updated Oct. 21, 2013–Joint UFE-TESC Statement
Meeting Responsibilities & Eligibility for Professional Development

The UFE and management teams would like to emphasize our continued commitment to the values carried forward from the Faculty Handbook into the first and second Collective
Bargaining Agreements related to team teaching and teaching students at varying points in their educational development. These values are central to the identity of the college, and they impact our ability to recruit and retain students. These values are expressed as responsibilities of some regular faculty members and affect how those faculty members collectively plan curriculum and form teaching teams.
Team Teaching Responsibilities
Regarding teaching partners, CBA 6.3.3 states: Regular faculty members (other than library faculty members, and faculty members teaching in graduate and reservation-based programs) must teach with at least five (5) different faculty members during every fifteen (15) quarters (excluding summer quarters). The calendar for team teaching responsibilities will coincide with the faculty member’s five year-review.
Teaching First Year Students
Regarding first-year seats, CBA 6.3.4 (a) states: Regular faculty members teaching in the full-time, daytime, undergraduate curriculum on the Olympia campus are expected to divide their teaching between beginning and more advanced students. In a given four (4)-year teaching cycle, faculty are expected to teach in at least the equivalent of one (1) year-long program designed primarily for first-year students, or two (2) year-long programs designed primarily for lower division students, or three (3) year-long programs designed as all-level. The calendar for teaching first-year students will follow four-year cycles, beginning in 2010/2011.
Meeting Professional Responsibilities: The Assessment Process
To provide information in a timely manner, in the summer the Academic Deans will check the patterns and combinations of plans for each faculty member. The deans will make an effort to meet with faculty at the beginning of fall quarter to share information and to check in with individuals whose four- or five-year plans do not appear to be fitting together in a way that fulfills professional responsibilities. The dean and faculty member will review the teaching history and already planned curriculum and, if necessary, document plans (typically for the next planning cycle—two years hence) that will fulfill the responsibilities.
Eligibility for Professional Development
During the assessment process, faculty will retain eligibility for professional development.
Article 15 of the CBA states that each faculty member must “meet or have a plan to meet” these responsibilities to be eligible for professional development opportunities. If an appropriate plan is not developed and submitted by December 15 of that academic year, faculty will not be eligible for faculty development opportunities for 12 months or until such a plan is submitted. Communications from the deans declaring faculty ineligible for development opportunities (sent in October 2012) will be withdrawn and replaced with new communications outlining this process.
Waivers
A faculty member may request a waiver of the team teaching responsibility. The most recent agreement between the UFE and TESC specifies that rotation and team teaching requirements “may be waived for a particular faculty member by the curriculum deans and a committee of faculty only when the faculty member has been requested to meet an extraordinary demand in the College curriculum or to account for faculty leave” (CBA 6.3.3). The waiver request must be made in writing and a written response is due. The deans and faculty committee may waive or extend the time frame during which the faculty member may fulfill responsibilities. This written response can then be incorporated into the documentation of whether a faculty member has met or has a plan to meet their responsibilities.

Both parties believe that team teaching and teaching students at varying points in their educational development are core values and essential to recruiting and retaining students. Both parties will continue to explore ways to balance the academic goals of first-year seat responsibilities with efforts to serve diverse student populations.

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Updated Oct. 3, 2013. The Central Washington University Board of Trustees Approves a New 4-year Contract

ELLENSBURG, Wash. — By Rafael Guerrero

The Central Washington University Board of Trustees approved a new four-year contract for faculty in September, 2013.The four-year agreement calls for a new faculty compensation and reward system as well as across-the-board salary increases in each year of the contract. According to CWU, salaries would increase 5 percent for this year, retroactive to Sept. 1; 4 percent for 2014 and 2015; and 3 percent for 2016.

The new contract also replaces the current merit system with a post-tenure review reward model, enhances department chair compensation and adds a development fund pool for senior lecturers, according to the university. In addition, parental leave of up to six weeks is available under the collective bargaining agreement. School officials and union representatives said the negotiations and ensuing contract are good for students.

“CWU students have access to research and scholarship that is distinctive in Washington and we believe that academic opportunity and rigor will only improve with this contract,” CWU President James L. Gaudino said in a prepared statement. “Students will know that Central is committed to recruiting, retaining, and rewarding faculty who bring a quality commitment to teaching and scholarship.”

Faculty union president Roxanne Easley said the deal offers better faculty working conditions, which will improve education for students. “Improving faculty salaries in a national market and reinforcing our commitment to faculty and student research collaboration are major faculty concerns,” she also said in a prepared statement, “and this contract makes progress on both of these fronts.”

Posted in Uncategorized

Excellent Turnout at the UFE Summer School–Owning the Work of the Curriculum!

Update: Sept 10 & 11, 2013UFE 3

Greetings UFE members.  On Sept. 10–11, the UFE hosted a two-day Summer School where we worked with Sarah Laslett & Will Brucher from the WA State Labor Education & Research Center. Also providing organizing leadership & addressing the political landscape were Gary McNeil, our WEA Higher Education Representative & Bill Lyne, from Western WA University & The United Faculty of Washington. During our Summer School (held at the Washington State Labor CoUFE 4uncil), we discussed such topics as UFE history, working conditions, professional development, stewardship, adjunct concerns, organizing strategies & engaged in contract analysis. Also taking part in the evening sessions were members of our TESC sister unions.

Thanks everyone for participating in this very well-attended event & kicking off the 2013-14 academic year, a year where we own the work of the curriculum & continue our service to TESC students.

Grace Huerta
UFE Communications

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By a vote of 52-2, our union has ratified its first contract! TESC Board of Trustees approved the contract on Thursday, June 13, 2013. Congrats to all!

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UPDATE JUNE 11, 2013. Protect Higher Ed Health Care & Defeat SB 5905! Please read this news brief below from the WEA Take Action Website:

As part of a budget deal in Olympia, legislators are pushing to eliminate existing health care benefits for part-time K-12 and higher education employees — including college faculty members!

Senate Bill 5905 forces part-time school employees into a yet-to-be-created health benefit exchange. This is a budget cut. If the Legislature passes SB 5905, it is highly likely school employees will pay more for fewer benefits.

Many part-time school employees work specifically to earn health care coverage for their families, and eliminating eligibility for state-funded health coverage will make it more difficult to attract and retain quality employees.

In a sense, what’s being proposed in Olympia is no different than Wal-Mart forcing employees onto government programs such as Medicaid or to otherwise fend for themselves. Higher education faculty members will especially feel the impact, since many work less than 30 hours a week.

Meanwhile, legislators would still get full health benefits from the state! Part-time legislators would also continue to get dental, vision, life and long-term disability coverage from the state. But these would not be available through the state health care exchange, so all part-time K-12, higher ed and state employees would have to pay out-of-pocket for this or any other coverage beyond basic health insurance.

Help defeat SB 5905 by emailing your local legislators and other key lawmakers. Email your local legislatures. For more info on how to do this see:

http://action.washingtonea.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=7993

Or see the Association for Higher Education webpage (AHE–Spokane) at: http://www.ahespokane.com/index.php?p=1_27

The AHE link noted examples of what adjuncts are possibly facing:

  • Dental and vision coverage would be ELIMINATED since the federal program doesn’t require coverage for these benefits.
  • Premiums will be HIGHER for many, if not all, employees. Depending upon your income your monthly premium for coverage could triple, even with a subsidy.
  • The proposed plan would determine coverage based on hours worked, not percent of load. We fear many who are now covered will lose their benefits completely. (Currently our state’s Health Care Authority gives full health coverage to faculty working at least 50 percent (0.5 FTE) of a full-time load.)
  • Currently part-time college faculty receives benefits even in months when they are not working, based on the Mader Lawsuit from several years ago.  We are not yet sure that this will be honored under the exchange.
  • Employees will pay more out-of-pocket for deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurance.
Thank you for your interest.
Grace Huerta
UFE Communications
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June 6, 2013 at 7 p.m. Greetings UFE! The SSSSU Team reported the following:
“To our campus community,  after a very long 17 months of negotiations, the Student Support Services Staff Union negotiating team and the administration team have come to tentative agreement on a first contract for the SSSSU. The ratification vote will be held next Wednesday, the 12th of June on Red Square [at noon].Thank you all for your support in securing basic workers’ rights for this group of non-management Student Affairs exempt staff members. This historic moment was made possible through the combined efforts and actions of many people across this campus and beyond. We are honored to have represented this bargaining unit and our college in this struggle.It is time to begin the process of reconciliation and building a better Evergreen together. Please join us in this work.solidarity,
Jean Eberhardt, Reaz Mahmood, Leslie Johnson and Arvin Mosley from the SSSSU team
(also Justin Reuter and Courtney Bailey, who were on the team from the beginning but joined the many SSSSU members who have left for positions elsewhere).”
Grace Huerta, UFE Communications.
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May 29, 2013–FAQs, Press & Videos Regarding the Student Support Services Staff Union
Dear UFE members:
While there are no picket lines planned for the immediate future, additional job actions may take place. We will try to keep you informed. 
In the meantime, please make note of your experiences and in the alternative classrooms. We hope to share them later as we begin to understand the meaning of these events.
Thanks goes out to Liza Rognas for putting together the following news items:

Counter Punch: a letter from Pete Bohmer
http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/05/28/an-open-letter-to-the-evergreen-state-college-and-beyond/

In SOLIDARITY
Laurie Meeker, UFE Chair

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MAY 27, 2013 UPDATE From the WA Federation of State Employees: Students, Faculty, Staff and Supporters of Student Support Services Staff Union (SSSSU) at Evergreen:
Union members of the Student Support Services Staff Union (SSSSU), affiliated with the Washington Federation of State Employees, AFSCME Council 28 AFL-CIO, are going on strike on Tuesday May 28th, 2013 at The Evergreen State College [one day action]. Here are details about Tuesday’s strike on campus:
WHAT: Sanctioned labor strike by Evergreen’s Student Support Services Staff Union
WHEN: Tuesday, May 28, 2013 from 7:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
WHERE: The Evergreen State College, 2700 Evergreen Parkway NW, Olympia WA  98505
REQUEST: Honor union picket lines by not attending on campus classes, work or events
JOIN PICKET LINES: Support striking workers by joining picket lines (simply show up to the Red Square Bus Loop and/or RSVP via email here)
ATTEND RALLY: Join a rally the top of the Red Square Bus Loop from 11:00 a.m – 1:00 p.m. (simply show up to the Red Square Bus Loop and/or RSVP via email here)
LEARN MORE: Watch an educational video on Vimeo here
SUPPORT THE STRIKE ON FACEBOOK: Like the Student Support Services Staff Union Facebook page and change your profile picture to show your support of Tuesday’s strike
Why Everyone Should Support Tuesday’s Strike by Not Going to Classes / Work at Evergreen
Members of the Student Support Services Staff Union are Evergreen employees who work to directly support students, and include Academic Advisors, Admissions Counselors, Athletics Coaches, Career Counselors, Financial Aid Counselors, Mental Health Therapists, Residence Hall Directors and Student Activities Advisors, among other positions on campus. If you are an Evergreen student, faculty, staff or community member, chances are you have all been touched by the critical and hard work performed by these employees.The Student Support Services Staff Union has asked Evergreen’s Administration to agree to a fair first contract for over 16 months, but President Purce’s management negotiation team has refused to accept two key proposals.
The employees’ first proposal, which Evergreen’s Administration is rejecting, is known as “Just Cause.” Just Cause is a fundamental union right to not be arbitrarily disciplined or fired without a good reason – as decided by an outside and independent third party, with extensive expertise in employment relations. President Purce’s management negotiation team is refusing to allow union members to appeal arbitrary or capricious discipline/firings to an outside and indepedent third party, despite the fact that every other unionized Evergreen employee is allowed this basic right. If every other unionized Evergreen employee, including faculty, classified staff and food service workers can appeal arbitrary discipline to an outside third party, why shouldn’t members of the Student Support Services Staff Union be allowed these same rights? Evergreen can’t put students first, if Student Affairs workers are put last.
The employees’ second proposal, which Evergreen’s Administration is also rejecting, is centered on fair compensation. Union members are asking for incremental salary increases based on length of years worked, which is a basic system to reward the experience of longstanding employees. Every other unionized Evergreen employee has exactly this kind of incremental “step system” and such a fair compensation grid is critical to retaining experienced staff. There are many members of the Student Support Services Staff Union who make less than other Evergreen staff, and are currently at a 1992 state employee salary average. In fact, most of the striking Evergreen workers have received minimal raises at best, over the last 10 years. Is it any wonder that the lack of a fair compensation step system is responsible for high employee turnover, with over one third of the employees in the Student Support Services Staff’s ranks leaving Evergreen for jobs at other institutions? Evergreen can’t put students first, if Student Affairs workers are put last.
A strike by any group of employees is evidence on its face, that serious problems exist in a given workplace. Evergreen is supposed to be an institution where progressive values, including due process and social justice, are reflected in the College’s day-to-day mission. But President Purce’s management negotiation team is not putting the College’s mission into practice, because the Administration is refusing to agree to the Student Support Services Staff Union’s proposals for Just Cause and fair compensation. For all these reasons and many, many more, we are asking the Evergreen community to support the Student Support Services Staff Union by not crossing union picket lines on campus. This means not going to on-campus classes, work or events on Tuesday.

Please show your solidarity for the hard-working employees who literally make Evergreen work, day-in and day-out, by not going to on-campus classes, work or events on Tuesday. WE ARE Evergreen, and the College can’t put students first, if Student Affairs workers are put last!

In Solidarity,
Rod Palmquist, WA Federation of State Employees
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PRESS RELEASE WA Federation of State Employees 5/27/13–Strike is Official

State employee counselors, advisors, resident directors and others at The Evergreen State College in Olympia will strike tomorrow, Tuesday, May 28, unless mediation resolves their contract dispute before then.

Mediation by the state Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) entered a sixth day Monday. But if there is no resolution, the strike will start Tuesday morning.

Tuesday’s strike activities include deployment at the college’s Bus Circle at 7:30 a.m. Pickets will go up throughout campus. A “Day of Action” rally will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the college’s Red Square. The rally will go on with or without a strike.

The likely strike comes after the unit of 57 Student Support Services Staff still has no agreement on due process for disciplinary actions (just cause) and compensation. Bargaining on their first contract started 16 months ago.

The TESC Student Support Services Staff are non-management exempt staff who won collective bargaining rights under 2007 legislation.

This would be the first strike by the 40,000-member Washington Federation of State Employees at any level since the successful statewide “rolling” strike of 2001. Federation local unions have already pledged some $75,000 to support any strike action at TESC. In addition, the United Faculty of Evergreen has pledged their entire Solidarity Fund and support on the picket lines.

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**UFE MEMBERS: Please check your email for updates and leadership contacts to answer any questions  regarding this Day of Action. Also, we have provided here the following links regarding the Student Support Services Staff Union:

Student Support Services Staff Union (SSSSU) FAQs: SSSSU FAQs_fin

The Olympian–Evergreen College Labor Talks Now in Mediation: http://blog.thenewstribune.com/stateworkers/2013/05/22/evergreen-college-labor-talks-now-in-mediation-tuesday-strike-looking-more-likely/#.UZ2sVnQJY8o.email

TESC Student Support Services Staff Union: https://www.facebook.com/TESCx

WFSE/AFSCME articles:

http://www.wfse.org/collective-bargaining/tesc-ssssu-bargaining-team/

http://www.wfse.org/take-action-tell-evergreen-its-time-for-a-fair-contract/

http://www.wfse.org/wfseafscme-sets-the-record-straight-over-evergreen-administrations-assertions/

www.wfse.org/vote-on-possible-strike-in-progress-at-tesc/

http://www.wfse.org/more-locals-support-the-evergreen-state-college-workers/

Student Support–National & TESC:

USAS (United Students Against Sweatshops): http://usas.org/2013/05/16/progressive-evergreen-college-pushes-workers-to-strike-vote/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Services-Not-Silence/155603534597721?ref=stream

Newspaper & Online Media Articles:

The Olympian: ww.theolympian.com/2013/05/16/2547210/evergreen-union-may-strike.html

Bellingham Herald: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2013/05/16/3011411/evergreen-union-may-strike.html

Tacoma News Tribune: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2013/05/16/2599512/evergreen-union-may-strike.html

The Stand: http://www.thestand.org/2013/05/video-chronicles-a-year-of-bargaining-at-evergreen-state-college/

Puget Sound Anarchists: http://pugetsoundanarchists.org/content/case-strike-letter-solidarity-olympia-sds-ssssu

Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (copy of USAS article): http://ggjalliance.org/aggregator

Thurston-Lewis-Mason Central Labor Council: http://tlmlabor.org/washington-state-news/

Online videos:

SSSSU Meets with TESC Board of Trustees: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IshLHGPtkxQ

SSSSU Video “A Year of Bargaining” http://vimeo.com/tescssssu

Article PDFS:

De_Investing in Staff–The Hidden Campus Workforce: by Gary Rhoades & Christine Maitland from the NEA Almanac in Higher Education

Academic Advising_Comm College–What is the Effect of Academic Advising on Students’ Chance of Success?; by Peter Riley Bahr from the Research in Higher Education Journal

Student-Success_HigherEd–2011 Report by the American Federation of Teachers

We hope you can review these links!

Liza Rognas & Grace Huerta, UFE Research & Communications, May 20, 2013

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May Update: Joint Communiqué From the TESC Academic Administration & the UFE on Summer Institutes & Curriculum Planning Days

This is a May 2013  joint communiqué from Allen Olson and Laurie Meeker on behalf of the TESC academic administration and United Faculty of Evergreen.

We are writing to clarify the current status of summer institutes and curriculum planning days and to address some recent confusion about the bargaining process. In negotiations that led to the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), the UFE and management teams agreed to some changes to the funding that supports faculty summer institutes.  Both negotiating teams weighed options for compensation and faculty development as part of the whole budgetary picture. Budget challenges meant that priorities had to be negotiated, and both parties agreed that to support the academic mission of the college (student retention as related to recruiting and retaining qualified faculty) faculty salaries were a high priority, along with a commitment to faculty development.

The administration examined many parts of the academic budget to find ways to increase the compensation for all faculty members.  In the end, the UFE and management teams agreed to increase the 2013-14 faculty salary grid by 5.5%. Half a percent of that increase was the result of moving funds to the faculty salary pool from an account used to support summer curricular planning and summer institutes.  This move was communicated by the UFE bargaining team to its members and by the management team to the Board of Trustees.

The UFE statement to their members summarizing the new contract (2 June 2012) stated that the faculty salary increase included “0.5% for movement of summer curriculum planning days into governance time carved out during the academic year.”  The same document later stated, “It is important to note that the College indicated during negotiations that the funding they use for curriculum planning days AND summer institutes has been moved to this increase to base compensation” (emphasis in original).

Management’s statement to the Board of Trustees summarizing the new contract (12 June 2012) stated that 0.5% of the faculty salary increase was the result of “reallocation from money paid to faculty for participating in planning days and faculty institutes over the summer.”

The increase in faculty compensation does not eliminate the opportunity for faculty to be compensated for participation in summer institutes.  That compensation has not changed and is stated in Article 17.2 of the CBA: “Faculty participants will be paid a daily stipend of $125 and conveners will be paid a daily stipend of $250 for participating in summer institutes.”  The compensation stated in this article was considered and reaffirmed both in the main negotiations that led to the current CBA and in the recent negotiations specific to summer quarter.  These more recent negotiations resulted in a Memorandum of Understanding that also states, “Compensation for Disappearing Task Force and special college projects will remain at status quo of $250 per day.

Moving the compensation for summer curriculum planning days into the regular academic year led to discussions about the need to set aside more time, institution-wide, for curricular planning work to happen.  The negotiated agreement sets aside four Wednesday afternoons for curricular planning (see Article 7.5). While the budget line for both curriculum planning days and summer institutes was reorganized, the parties made no agreement that summer institutes would be discontinued. The UFE statement to their members last June noted, “… funding for summer institutes is not guaranteed (nor was it under the last CBA); yet we don’t expect summer institutes to disappear.”  The addendum to this is that even though they are not expected to disappear, they will be more rare than in the past unless the administration secures enough other funding to offset the funds that were moved to the faculty salary pool.

Both the UFE and the administration are committed to exploring ways to improve opportunities for faculty development. This is evident in another highlight from the new CBA: the increase in funding for faculty professional travel from $750 per year per full-time faculty member to $1,000 per year per full time faculty member. However, continued budget challenges will reduce the number and scope of summer institute offerings this summer.  At this point for summer 2013, the administration has determined that the only summer opportunity for which funds are available is a workshop for faculty who were not a part of last summer’s Academic Statement Initiative providing an overview of and orientation to this initiative.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

UFE Bargaining Team Reaches Tentative Agreement June 1, 2012

The Tentative Agreement (TA) reached by the UFE Bargaining Team has been unanimously recommended by the Bargaining Team, the Coordinating Committee, and the Stewards Council. on June,1, 2012  The ratification process included a series of meetings in which the Bargaining Team presented the TA to the Membership (Wednesday, June 6, 2012), and at All Faculty Forums. Members voted by paper ballot during the voting period, June 6 – June 13.  Below you will find critical links and dates relating to the Tentative Agreement:

Digest of the Draft of the Tentative Agreement (revised June 5)– summarizes draft changes to the existing CBA
Draft of the Tentative Agreement — please review in advance of the Membership Meeting on Wed, June 6.

 

Posted in UFE Business