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 Council), 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.
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:
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.
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).”
Counter Punch: a letter from Pete Bohmer
Laurie Meeker, UFE Chair
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 98505REQUEST: Honor union picket lines by not attending on campus classes, work or eventsJOIN 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
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!
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.
**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.
TESC Student Support Services Staff Union: https://www.facebook.com/TESCx
Student Support–National & TESC:
USAS (United Students Against Sweatshops): http://usas.org/2013/05/16/progressive-evergreen-college-pushes-workers-to-strike-vote/
Newspaper & Online Media Articles:
Tacoma News Tribune: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2013/05/16/2599512/evergreen-union-may-strike.html
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/
SSSSU Meets with TESC Board of Trustees: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IshLHGPtkxQ
SSSSU Video “A Year of Bargaining” http://vimeo.com/tescssssu
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
We hope you can review these links!
Liza Rognas & Grace Huerta, UFE Research & Communications, May 20, 2013
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.