June 8-19, 2017. Greetings UFE Members. Thank you for a positive graduation and providing student support through the end of the quarter. We certainly faced challenges. Through it all, the UFE 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, 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 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 will organize a Summer Union School to introduce common readings, discussion, resources and strategies to support members’ understanding of such topics as institutional racism, educational equity, and culturally relevant curriculum and pedagogy. Our first UFE common read will be historian Ibram Kendi’s Stamped From the Beginning—The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. In this 2016 National Book Award Winner for Nonfiction, Kendi provides readers with an examination of anti-Black racist ideas through the lens of five major American intellectuals: Puritan minister, Cotton Mather, Thomas Jefferson, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, W.E.B. Du Bois and Angela Davis. Kendi shows how some of our leading pro-slavery and pro-civil rights thinkers have challenged or helped to cement racist views and institutional racism in America. We believe by considering this text, we can begin to conceptualize institutional racism, which is an important first step as we consider the implementation of our MOU. As planning proceeds, information and possible dates for our UFE Summer School will be shared with UFE members. So stay tuned. We look forward to working together to better serve our students and campus-wide learning community.
Collective bargaining has been ongoing thru spring quarter and will likely continue through the summer. While the legislature has yet to complete its budget, we will still meet with the administration. Both teams are looking to schedule bargaining dates. If we cannot reach a contract agreement by the expiration date, August 31, 2017, the current contract will remain in place (status quo). Please check our website during the summer for more info: http://www.ufevergreen.org/.
Thank you everyone for your dedicated work this quarter. I know you are all scrambling, likely exhausted, and 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
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: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.)
- Native American
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.
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),