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Summer 2017 Update: Memo of Understanding & Professional Development; UFE Duty of Fair Representation

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

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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),

 

UFE 2017 Winter Quarter Update

Greetings UFE members. Here is a Winter quarter update. Yesterday, Feb. 21, President Bridges issued his comments regarding TESC’s actions to support undocumented students on our campus (see his statement below). I want to thank our students, staff and UFE members who have been out-front with President Bridges when addressing such issues as: the presence of ICE on our campus; undocumented student support services; the status of undocumented student records; undocumented student access to in-state & TESC need grants, and; seeking opportunities for student, faculty and staff training. Since last November, our Evergreen community has worked together to ensure that specific plans and actions are in place. While there is still much to do to support our undocumented students and their families (given increased deportations, family separations, schools losing “sensitive locations” designation) these actions are important first steps.

Given the other aggressive actions put forth and inspired by the Trump administration (i.e. climate change deniers, anti-DAPL and Keystone drilling, discrimination against the LGBTQ communities, Muslims and anti-Semitism, and the rejection of the Black Lives Matter movement), we certainly need an all-hands-on-deck approach to support our students and community as we move forward.

On another front, on Feb.22, the UFE will survey faculty about their collective bargaining priorities in their planning unit meetings. Please sign your survey and return it to a steward or your PUC. Or, if you would like a survey, please contact me at: gracehue@gmail.com. The 2017 UFE Bargaining Team includes: Jon Davies, bargaining team chair, Laurie Meeker, Stephen Beck, John Baldridge and Grace Huerta. Your responses to the survey will be especially helpful as the B-Team begins its preparations for the upcoming bargaining sessions.

Also, thanks to those of you who attended our last membership meeting earlier this month. We shared the latest gains in our membership drive, reviewed the UFE budget and discussed the college’s enrollment concerns and possible responses. In addition, we discussed the multi-year contract application process, sabbaticals, part-time faculty compensation and undocumented and immigrant student support actions on campus and in Olympia.

Lastly, please join our contingent faculty colleagues at St Martin’s University in solidarity with their one-day walkout on Wednesday, March 1st. The purpose of this walk-out is to demand their university administration come to the bargaining table with their new faculty union. The rally and speeches take place from 10-11:30 a.m. on St. Martin’s Quad. It meant so much to the UFE when others joined our one-day strike in solidarity with our student support services staff union. So we hope you will stand with our colleagues at St. Martin’s.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for a bargaining update. Best wishes for a successful quarter.

In solidarity,

Grace Huerta, UFE Chair

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Statement by President George Bridges of The Evergreen State College: Actions in Defense of Our Undocumented Students

Written by George Bridges on February 21, 2017 at 11:04 am

I wrote to the Evergreen community three weeks ago regarding the college’s response to the federal executive order on immigration and anticipated federal actions regarding undocumented students.  I am writing now to provide an update to that message.

Since I last wrote, I have had opportunities to meet with more undocumented students, in addition to faculty, staff, and students who have family members who are undocumented.  Their stories – each one unique – are profoundly moving.  We are fortunate to have them as members of our college community. We have an obligation to speak up for these members of our community who, when they choose to speak up for themselves, do so at great personal risk.

The leadership and advocacy of Governor Inslee and Washington State Attorney General Ferguson in recent weeks, which led a federal court to block the executive order on immigration and refugees, encourages me. At the same time, we have seen immigration enforcement actions locally and nationally that have arrested and detained many undocumented individuals across the country.

Evergreen remains committed to protecting and supporting our undocumented students in every way legally possible. Evergreen will not willingly cooperate with any efforts, federal or local, to collect or retain any information that identifies them as undocumented, to defund any financial aid they receive, or to deport them.

We are committed to the academic success of our undocumented students and to providing them with the opportunity to finish their degrees at Evergreen.

For those who are directly affected by federal immigration policy, the details behind these general commitments are important, so I want to reiterate important points I have made in previous communications and public remarks:

  1. Any records we hold that would identify students as undocumented we regard as protected under federal student privacy laws.  We will not turn over those documents to anyone without a valid court order, warrant or subpoena.
  2. If we receive an order or subpoena demanding such documents, we will confer with the Office of Attorney General (AG) before acting, and seek assistance and support from AG to quash the order or subpoena.  Ultimately, final action on an order, warrant or subpoena will rest with the AG.
  3. The college’s police officers do not and will not ask any student, staff or faculty member they contact about their immigration status.
  4. The college’s police officers will not base any of their interactions with students, faculty and staff on their immigration status.
  5. The college’s police officers have no cooperative agreements with federal immigration officers and will not participate with federal officers in immigration enforcement actions.
  6. While the college does not have the legal authority to bar federal agents from campus, we will not assist federal agents in any deportation action taken against our students.
  7. The State Need Grant and, starting in the Fall, the Evergreen Need Grant are available to eligible students who complete the WAFSA.
  8. The college recognizes its responsibility to help undocumented students finish their degrees.  In the event that changes in federal policy adversely affect students’ financial ability to finish, we will prioritize the needs of undocumented students within the resources we have available.

Finally, based on my own experience over the past several weeks, and in response to proposals from students, the college will be creating opportunities for staff and faculty to learn more about the challenges undocumented students face at Evergreen. In the coming week, with the help of the LatinX Standing Committee and other staff in key positions, senior staff will begin work to provide these students with additional support they need to achieve the highest possible levels of academic success. An important part of this work will entail identifying and correcting administrative obstacles undocumented students encounter on our campus.

 

UFE Solidarity with Saint Martin’s faculty WALKOUT – Wednesday March 1st 10am

Join our contingent faculty colleagues at Saint Martin’s in solidarity for their one-day walkout to demand the University administration come to the bargaining table with their new faculty union. The walk-out is Wednesday March 1st – see flyer below for details. UFE members could join the rally from 10am—11:30. It meant so much to us when others joined our one-day strike in solidarity with our student support services staff union.
Join us in Solidarity!  We can bring our UFE solidarity picket signs! Meet at the rally site, 10am, in the Quad between Harned Hall (Academic Building, #6 on map) and Cebula Hall (Engineering, #22 on map). Parking available in the main Marcus Pavillion lot (no parking pass required). See campus map here.
Here is the situation, as reported by Aaron Goings, Associate Professor of History at Saint Martin’s: 
On March 1, faculty, staff, and students at Saint Martin’s University will walk off the job to demand that the school’s administration, and President Roy Heynderickx in particular, begin negotiations with our contingent faculty union. In June 2016, Our contingent faculty voted overwhelmingly (by a roughly 2:1 margin) to form a union as part of the Service Employees’ International Union, Local 925. Faculty have plenty of reasons to unionize, but the most important issues included the miserly pay adjuncts receive ($2,500 per course), the lack of benefits (adjuncts receive no benefits), and the lack of job security (adjuncts have no idea how many classes they will be teaching each semester, and their classes can be cancelled during the first two weeks of the semester). Faculty are also angry that administration has consistently referred to our union as an “outside third party,” has claimed a religious exemption to the National Labor Relations Board’s jurisdiction, and has spent tens of thousands of dollars from student tuition on anti-union consultants.
Who can turn out for this event in solidarity with our faculty colleagues at Saint Martin’s?
They deserve fair wages, fair working conditions, and a fair contract!
RSVP to Laurie Meeker at meekerl@earthlink.net

 

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