Fall Update: Tentative Agreement Reached! UFE Ratification Complete!

Sept. 20, 2017. Welcome back UFE Members. On Thursday, Sept 14, 2017 at 8 a.m. the UFE and TESC signed a tentative agreement. UFE ratification of the TA was overwhelmingly supported by our voting members on Wednesday, Sept. 20. You can read the full digest below where the complete elements of the TA are described.

Key components of the TA were shared with UFE members during our Union School on August 25. On Sept. 14 during our faculty retreat lunch, we held a Stewards Council and Coordinating Committee meeting to discuss the TA with members. On Monday, Sept. 18 and Wednesday, Sept. 20, we held UFE membership meetings to also discuss the TA. The UFE Bargaining Team, Coordinating Committee and Stewards recommended a yes vote on the TA. Thank you UFE members for your participation in the ratification process.

Finally, bargaining team chair, Jon Davies spoke before the Board of Trustees on Sept. 20 to highlight our ongoing commitment to support the working conditions of our faculty, which are, ultimately, the learning conditions of our students. This fall, the UFE looks forward to collecting faculty input about the implementation of  the TA as we move forward in 2017-18.

In solidarity,
Grace Huerta, UFE Chair

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CBA Digest & CBA–Tentative Agreement (2017-18) Between The Evergreen State College (TESC) and The United Faculty of Evergreen (UFE)–Sept. 14, 2017

TESC and UFE are signing a one-year collective bargaining agreement. Both TESC and UFE initially started bargaining in 2016 with the goal of a longer contract, but due to various campus and non-campus issues, the parties agree to a one-year agreement, allowing the parties to discuss and prepare various proposals for the next collective bargaining agreement. The parties agree to suspend several current CBA sections only for the 2017-2018 year; and agree to include a one-year adjustment to the salary grid, incorporate the MOU regarding professional development specific to institutional racism, equity and inclusiveness and keep all other provisions of the TESC/UFE 2015-2017 CBA intact for this one-year contract (see: CBA15_17) .

The agreement is as follows:

  1. Salary Grid Increases: For the 2017-2018 academic year, experience years increases in Article 1.4 will be fully funded and the salary grids will increase 2% effective September 1, 2017.
  2. Professional Development: Institutional Racism, Equity and Inclusion. The Memorandum of Understanding between TESC and UFE to jointly prepare annual mandatory professional development on institutional racism, equity and inclusion is incorporated into this agreement. The TESC VP/VP for Equity and Inclusion will coordinate these professional development activities with the UFE
  3. Adjunct Transition UFE and TESC agree on the need for a transition policy of adjunct positions into regular positions. The parties will negotiate new contractual language on a transition policy during the 2017-2018 academic year in preparation for incorporation in the upcoming collective bargaining agreement. In the 2017-2018 academic year, CBA 10.2.3 remains in effect and position descriptions for the four transition positions previously agreed to will be created, based on 10.2.3 (i.e., teaching histories). Before the position descriptions are advertised, UFE-Management Committee will assess the descriptions to ensure that they meet the commitments in 10.2.3. These positions will be advertised no later than fall 2018.
  4. Revitalizing Curricular Work Structures. TESC and UFE agree to negotiate working conditions associated with curriculum planning structures, processes, and practices. These include subjects in the CBA such as the work of Planning Units and Planning Unit Coordinators as well as recommendations from the Standing Committee on the Curriculum and recommendations from TESC faculty DTFs, study groups, and UFE-TESC Joint Committees such as the 2013-14 Planning Unit Coordinators (PUC) DTF. The parties will negotiate new contractual language on these working conditions during the 2017-2018 academic year in preparation for incorporation in the upcoming collective bargaining agreement. No changes in the CBA or in current practices that affect working conditions will be made during 2017-18.
  5. Review Process for Retention Initiative for lower class sizes for first year The lower class size initiative is in effect for 2017-2018. TESC and UFE agree to assess the initiative’s impact on curriculum and on retention. By the end of Winter Quarter of 2018, the assessment will be complete. Extension of the initiative will occur only if the parties agree that the impacts have been sufficient to merit the continued dedication of college resources to class-size reductions. Assessing the impacts of class size reduction will include a comprehensive review of the program itself.
  6. Status Quo for remaining current CBA. Excepting the sections above, the current CBA remains in effect for this one-year Contract provisions specific to 2017 are extended to 2018. The salary grid for Summer 2018 will increase by 2%.
  7. Duration: This contract begins on September 1, 2017 and ends August 31, The agreement shall take effect following ratification by UFE members and upon ratification by the TESC Board of Trustees. The CBA will be enacted retro-actively to September 1, 2017.

UFE Bargaining Team: Jon Davies (B-Team chair), Stephen Beck, Grace Huerta (UFE chair), Laurie Meeker, Gary McNeil (WEA Higher Education Organizer)

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August 30, 2017. Greetings UFE Members. May you have experienced a rejuvenating summer.  We certainly face challenges at the College. Through it all, the UFE has sought to provide leadership when working with the administration in response to student concerns during the recent protests and actions. The UFE Bargaining Team, Coordinating Committee and Stewards Council collaborated to provide support to faculty and students. This support comes in many forms, ranging from being available to the students beyond the classroom, leading summer institutes and a Union School, meeting with TESC faculty, members of the administration and our state-wide union affiliates, communicating with legal counsel, responding to the press, and holding gatherings for faculty discussion and respite.

That said, we recognize that our members have a full range of different perspectives related to recent Evergreen events and controversies. It must be noted that our union must be respectful of our duty of fair representation. As a union, we are both responsible and obligated to represent all faculty members of the bargaining unit (which includes 73% of UFE continuing faculty members). We are committed to honoring this responsibility.

The UFE has also sought to respond to student interests. One of the most important responses is the May 26, 2017 joint Memorandum of Understanding agreement between the College and the UFE. This MOU was supported unanimously by the Stewards Council. The key tenet of this MOU reads: “…we recognize that Evergreen faculty members must have access to, and take advantage of, professional development opportunities to address subjects including but not limited to institutional racism, and the needs of students of color, LGBTQIA students, undocumented students, victims of sexual assault, and students with disabilities.” Therefore, the implementation of this mandatory annual professional development initiative will represent OUR collective opportunity to work with the administration to provide a framework for faculty development in the spirit of serving all of our students better.

To begin the MOU implementation planning process, the UFE organized a Summer Union School III that was held on Friday, Aug. 25 at the Organic Farm. During the first half of the meeting we seminared on a common read, Ibram Kendi’s National Book Award Winner, Stamped From the Beginning—The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. Our discussion of this text helped conceptualize institutional racism, segregation, assimilation, and anti-racism. This was an important first step as we consider the implementation of the MOU. We look forward to working together to better serve our students and campus-wide learning community. We welcomed the participation of our Provost Jennifer Drake;  VP for Diversity and Equity, Chassity Holliman; Dean, Therese Saliba and CCBLA Director, Ellen Shorrt-Sanchez.

Our afternoon session for union members included an update of our collective bargaining discussions taking place this summer. As the legislature revealed its budget on June 30, both management and UFE teams strive to reach an agreement by the expiration date, August 31, 2017. If not, the current contract will remain in place (status quo). Please check this website for more info.

Thank you everyone for your dedicated work as we move into the fall quarter. I know you are deeply concerned for our students. At the end of the day, their faces are the ones I rest my mind on, the ones I think about late at night, and whose smiles, growth and inquiry give me great hope. That is what I hold on to the most and I suspect we share that feeling.

In solidarity, Grace Huerta, UFE Chair

PS–On a lighter note, the UFE Bowling shirts are in! if you have ordered and paid for a shirt, let me know & I will drop it off to you:)

In behalf of the Coordinating Committee: Jon Davies, Vice Chair; Bargaining Team Chair; Laurie Meeker, Communications Coordinator; Marla Elliott, Treasurer; John Baldridge, Stewards Coordinator; Stephen Beck, At-Large Representative; Al Josephy, At-Large Representative

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June 7, 2017. Greetings everyone. Given the closing of campus on Thursday, June 2, the UFE membership meeting was cancelled. We will be sending out a Spring/Summer Update to our members shortly. This update will discuss our Memorandum of Understanding, which was unanimously ratified by the Stewards Council last week.  We see the MOU as a proactive means and opportunity for all faculty to examine how we can best support our students and one another specific to equity and inclusion through ongoing professional development. Stay tuned.

Collective bargaining and labor/management meetings continue this week. The College and the UFE dialogue about topics related to working conditions, curriculum coherence and student retention efforts (to name a few), as well as current CBA implementation issues. While the collective bargaining process does require agreed-upon confidences, we will provide you with an update by week 10 of the quarter.

Kabby Mitchell ¡Presente! This Spring, we lost our dear colleague and friend, Kabby Mitchell III. In honor of our union brother and his service to his family, community, friends, students, and the arts, the UFE Coordinating Committee (CC) and Stewards Council (SC) have voted to contribute $400 from the UFE Memorial Fund to the Tacoma Urban Performing Arts Center. This is a great way to honor his legacy through the support of social justice, youth and dance! Additional contributions can be made at: https://tacomaupac.org/. A memorial service will be held July 9th at 2 p.m. at the Paramount Theater in Seattle.  At Evergreen, we are planning events to remember Kabby at both Olympia and Tacoma campuses. Dates for the memorial will be shared soon.

Serve Your Union as a Steward! As we near the end of the quarter (can you believe it?), we must consider next year’s governance assignments. Please fulfill your governance responsibilities by serving as a member of the Stewards Council. This does count as TESC governance. The SC meets throughout each quarter to discuss issues specific to the CBA and contract implementation. Stewards communicate with our members, as well as perform an advisory role for the union. Stewards vote on actions and make recommendations to the membership. Please email me at: gracehue@gmail.com if you are interested in serving your union and you have not already done so.

The UFE also welcomes your participation in the Agenda Committee. Stand as chair-elect or as a member. It is imperative that we have UFE representation who are well versed in the CBA, contract implementation and the issues impacting our working conditions. UFE representatives also maintain communication with the CC. If you are interested in serving on the AC, please email UFE member, Sandy Yannone at: slyoly@gmail.com.

In other news, last March UFE members took part in labor actions to support the St. Martin’s Faculty Union. As you may be aware, the St. Martin’s administration has refused to recognize their union and come to the bargaining table to negotiate with contingent and continuing faculty. Ongoing actions will continue and we will keep you posted about ways we can be of help.

As you may recall from a previous email, we recently undertook a review of our UFE Solidarity Scholarship fund. We learned we only have a few members contributing via payroll deduction (out of over 142 members or 73% of continuing faculty, or, 62% of all faculty—total number of faculty, Fall 2016: 229). Nevertheless, since 2010 UFE members have contributed over $48,000 (including one-time donations) to nearly 50 students through the UFE scholarship fund and the Evergreen Foundation. Thank you to our wonderful contributors!

However, we certainly can do better. In recognition of the ongoing financial burden of tuition, together the UFE and the College—in a joint agreement–invited all faculty to dedicate a portion of their salary (through payroll deduction or a one-time contribution) to support juniors and seniors who might otherwise be unable to complete their college education. With more contributions for the 2017-18 academic year, we plan to increase our scholarships awards to $1000 each. The number of scholarships we award will depend upon the contributions we receive. Updates regarding the number and amounts of awards we grant will be completed once the current cycle of scholarship distribution is completed.

In addition, the Stewards Council voted last month to support a revision of our language on the TESC scholarship web page. The language includes the following criteria (see http://www.evergreen.edu/scholarships):

One or More Required:

  • High level of loan indebtedness
  • African American
  • Dreamers (undocumented immigrant or U.S. resident whose 1st language is not English.)
  • First-Generation
  • Latinx
  • LGBTQ
  • Native American
  • Parents

You can download a payroll form by clicking here: UFE Scholarship Deduction Form.  You can also contribute to our scholarship with a one-time donation at: https://commerce.cashnet.com/givetoevergreen?itemcode=ALUMNI-SCHOL

Finally, candidates for the Vice President/Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion met with the UFE Coordinating Committee in May. Candidate info (letters, statements, CVs) can be found at: https://sites.evergreen.edu/vpequityinclusion2017/welcome/. Please provide your feedback to the search committee if you have not already done so.

That’s the latest for now. If you are interested in discussing any of these topics (or others on your mind), please feel free to contact me.

Onward we go!

Grace Huerta, UFE Chair

In Behalf of the Coordinating Committee: Jon Davies, UFE Vice-Chair, Bargaining Team Chair; Laurie Meeker, Communications; Marla Elliot, Treasurer; John Baldridge, Stewards Coordinator; Stephen Beck, Representative At-Large; Al Josephy, Representative At-Large.

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Bargaining Survey Update, Apr. 17, 2017. During the winter, UFE Stewards circulated a survey to the Planning Units asking faculty to submit their bargaining priorities. Your feedback is important as the UFE Bargaining Team and TESC administration currently engage in contract negotiations.

If you didn’t receive a copy of the survey and would like to participate, you can still submit your comments (click on the link below) and return it to John Baldridge, UFE Steward’s coordinator at his campus mailbox Sem2 B2124. We look forward to hearing your bargaining priorities as we proceed with negotiations this quarter. Print your copy here:  Bargaining Survey.

In solidarity! Take a listen to Billy Bragg’s tune “There’s Power in a Union!” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhPhyu_DXiY

UFE Bargaining Team –  Jon Davies (Bargaining Chair), Grace Huerta (UFE Chair), John Baldridge (Stewards Coordinator), Laurie Meeker (Communications) and Stephen Beck (Member At-Large),