Monthly Archives: October 2012

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.