UFE Announcement: 2020 Safety and Furlough MOUs

Dear Evergreen faculty,

The UFE Bargaining Team has achieved a tentative agreement with TESC for two Memoranda of Understanding (MOU): one on COVID-19 safety protocols, and one on budget, furlough, and compensation.

The first MOU describes safety protocols for teaching during the COVID-19 global pandemic in the second Summer session and in Fall 2020. In summary, no faculty member will be required to teach face-to-face classes, even if they have already said they would do so. Student evaluations from quarters covered by the COVID-19 MOU will not be used in faculty evaluations. 

The second MOU addresses budget shortfalls at the college through a one-year 10% reduction in compensation and requisite furlough. In addition, it suspends the 3% COLA increase scheduled for September 1. The College will not lay off any contracted faculty during the 2020-2021 academic year and will not declare financial emergency. Half-time faculty, adjuncts not on full-time contracts, administrative faculty on 11-month contracts, and faculty on LWOP are protected from the furlough reduction. 

The UFE Bargaining Team expresses its thanks to our faculty colleagues for recognizing the harsh realities we face and for offering ideas for us to consider. Like other Evergreen staff, we realize faculty are part of the solution by making these difficult sacrifices. We also thank the TESC Bargaining Team for working collaboratively in this hardest of negotiations. 

Both MOUs are to be ratified by a majority affirmative vote of UFE members. The UFE Bargaining Team, Coordinating Committee, and Stewards Council unanimously recommend a “yes” vote on both MOUs.

Voting will commence the evening of Thursday, August 6 and stay open until 5pm on Monday, August 10. Secure ballot details will be sent to members’ off-campus email of record – please watch for it. can we add a contact here if people need to add or update emails?

Below you will find a digest providing context and explanation for both MOUs. You may also download the digest and the complete document for each MOU:

Thank you very much for your support in these extraordinary times,

Sincerely,

Jon Davies, Bargaining Team Chair

Shawn Hazboun, UFE Chair

on behalf of the UFE Bargaining Team:

Grace Huerta, Laurie Meeker, Gary McNeil (WEA Organizer)

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Furlough MOU Digest

  • No layoffs of regular faculty for the 2020-2021 academic year.
  • TESC will honor the verbal teaching offers made to adjunct faculty for the 2020-21 academic year.
  • Full-time regular and full-time adjunct faculty will be furloughed with a credit-load reduction from 16 credits to 12 credits during winter or spring quarters; full-time faculty will also take 3 furlough days at the beginning of the contract period in September (9/14 through 9/16/20). The credit hour reduction (48 credits to 44 credits) plus the 3 furlough days equals a 10% workload reduction.
  • Parallel with this work reduction, compensation will be reduced by 10% on the 2019-20 salary grid for all full-time regular and full-time adjunct faculty. While this is a sacrifice, it is much better than the original TESC proposal. Academic Dean salaries will also be reduced by 10% during the academic year. In addition, budgets for senior administrator salaries will be reduced by at least 10%. This represents fair reductions across the board.
  • Furloughed faculty workload is protected. During the furlough quarter when faculty are teaching 12 credits, they will not be required to offer additional credit-bearing programs or courses when under-enrolled.
  • Part-time faculty compensation is also protected and will not be reduced. Faculty who are scheduled to work less than full-time during 2020-21 or who have already taken work/pay reductions, will not take additional reductions (this includes regular half-time faculty, administrative faculty on 11-month contracts, regular faculty scheduled for one or more quarters of leave without pay, and adjunct faculty not on full-time contracts).
  • Post-retirement contracts are postponed for the 2020-21 academic year, rather than cancelled.
  • This MOU is silent on sabbaticals for 2020-21; they are already scheduled and will take place.
  • The 3% COLA scheduled for 2020-21 is suspended; the legislature has not taken any action on this budget allotment, so it will be negotiated in the next round of bargaining.
  • Faculty will continue to accumulate experience years on the salary grid.
  • No financial exigency or financial emergency will be declared during the 2020-21 academic year
  • Furlough MOU is for one year.

Further context: This Tentative Agreement on faculty furloughs is a response to the more extreme proposals that were considered earlier in negotiations. Due to proposed state budget cuts, lower enrollments and the health threats due to COVID 19, TESC proposed to furlough faculty with a 16.67% salary and student/faculty ratio reduction, along with undoing the planned 3% COLA increase for 2020-21. In addition, TESC President Bridges used the phrase “Financial Emergency” in a campus email, a phrase in the CBA that would enact serious consequences if it had been an official declaration.

The UFE went to work immediately and reviewed the TESC furlough proposal of reducing class size and proposed an alternative based on furlough time equal to a 20% cut in compensation. Led by UFE Chair Shawn Hazboun, the UFE held two faculty forums, one for UFE members and one for all faculty coordinated with the Agenda Committee. The UFE presented the TESC financial situation and the two furlough ideas. Faculty added invaluable ideas and critiques. The UFE and TESC bargaining teams dropped both furlough ideas and developed a new one described above.

The tentative agreement on furloughs incorporates several ideas from faculty, including reducing the furlough time and salary initial reduction of 16.67% to 10%, protecting adjunct with contracts, making sure health benefits are covered, bargaining administration salary reductions and other items. Further, the tentative agreement commits to no faculty lay-offs for the duration of the MOU.

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Safety MOU Digest 

This Safety MOU affirms that faculty do not have to teach in-person in the fall; if you do, there are protections and protocols, but your safety is in your hands. Choose wisely.

  • Evergreen will follow reopening guidelines established by Governor Inslee’s communications regarding higher education, including Higher Education Proclamation 20-12.1. Thurston and Pierce County Public Health Officers will review all safety plans for in-person instruction.
  • Equipment purchases for home offices in support of remote instruction will be considered by the Academic Budget Office.
  • No large, in-person lectures, workshops, or seminars are permitted.
  • After Thanksgiving break, all classes will meet remotely with rare exception. All faculty and students returning from travel will adhere to self-quarantine restrictions.
  • Faculty members will address Evergreen’s safety precautions in their syllabi and/or Community Agreements.
  • Faculty will not be assigned as COVID-19 Supervisors or Custodians.
  • Evergreen will provide faculty teaching in-person with all safety supplies to comply with the college’s safety plans.
  • Some provisions of the Spring MOU dated 30 March 2020 will carry over to summer and fall quarters, including 1.c, which states, “student evaluations . . . included in the portfolio will be for informational purposes only, and not formally considered or evaluated as part of an annual review, third-year review, or five-year review.”
  • All other provisions of the CBA will remain in effect, including Article 18 – Workplace Safety and Health, which states in 18.5, “Faculty members shall not be required to work under hazardous conditions nor perform tasks that endanger their health or safety.”
  • Safety MOU ends 18 December 2020, unless extended by both parties.