Dear UFE Members,
First, thanks for your hard work this year in these pandemic times. And thanks for your membership in the UFE. If you know any colleague who wants to join the UFE, please direct them to the website for an application form.
The UFE will be bargaining a FALL Memorandum of Understanding on campus safety. With a return to the possibility of in-person instruction in the fall, we continue to be vigilant on safety and are committed to bargaining safety around issues such as campus vaccinations and testing, masks and hygiene, and social distancing.
We will also soon begin bargaining a successor agreement to our current Collective Bargaining Agreement. The context for this bargain is very different than it was at this time last year. The Washington State Senate and House of Representatives have both released their budget proposals and neither proposal contains any cuts to higher education.
The two chambers still need to negotiate a final budget, but it is now almost certain that there will be no cuts to higher education state appropriations. Furloughs are no longer being considered and the cuts to compensation funding from the governor’s proposal have been restored in the House and Senate proposals. In addition to no cuts, both budget proposals add new funding to Evergreen’s budget, with the House proposing $1.726 million in new funding and the Senate proposing $2.572 million in new funding. In addition to this good news at the state level, Evergreen has also received a total of $12.7 million in direct institutional aid and $9.2 million in emergency student aid from the federal government. Many thanks to the Higher Education community, the Washington Education Association, AFT Washington and all of us in the United Faculty of Washington State for advocating long and hard for no cuts to higher education.
The bad news that remains is Evergreen’s declining enrollments. President Bridges and Evergreen’s senior management have met this challenge primarily with loose talk about how we have too many faculty and threats to lay off one-sixth of Evergreen’s employees. This is desultory and unimaginative leadership that reneges on the public commitment that Evergreen management made to increase enrollment by 30% by 2030 (WA Roundtable infographic here).
The state of Washington has set a goal that 70% of 18 to 26 year-olds obtain a post-secondary credential by 2030 and has invested heavily in achieving that goal. It is time for Evergreen management to stop focusing on cuts and to start prioritizing student enrollment.
The UFE stands ready to work with TESC management to recruit new students. We support and propose the following ongoing and new initiatives:
- Having the Washington Student Achievement Council train current TESC work-study students to assist high school students with FAFSA/WAFSA completion.
- Continuing to work with the Washington Student Achievement Council and regional high schools to create a direct admit program for students who qualify for the Washington College Grant.
- Working with the College Promise Coalition to create a digital marketing campaign to reach out to high school students regarding FAFSA/WAFSA completion, the Washington College Grant, and Evergreen admission.
- Expanding TESC’s capacity and commitment to recruit and serve underrepresented students.
- Encouraging faculty to participate in an Evergreen Speakers Bureau that is reaching out to neighborhood high schools and community colleges.
- Highlighting Evergreen Paths of Study on both the UFE and TESC websites.
- Taking part in student outreach efforts with local schools and community-based organizations.
- Recruiting a team of 20-30 faculty who will write to prospective students.
The Bargaining Team will wait to begin bargaining until we learn the final budget decision passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor. We will be conducting Zoom bargaining issue forums later in spring quarter. We encourage each of you to “pitch in” and reach out to students to come and learn at Evergreen.
The UFE Bargaining Team
- Jon Davies (Bargaining Chair)
- Shawn Hazboun
- Grace Huerta
- Laurie Meeker
- Bradley Proctor