Author Archives: gracehue

UFE COVID-19 Updates; Leadership Election Results

May 29, 2020

The UFE membership overwhelmingly voted on May 15 to endorse the following 2020-22 slate of candidates for the UFE leadership team. Congratulations to Chair, Shawn Hazboun; Vice-Chair, Laurie Meeker; Communications Coordinator, Julie Russo; Treasurer, Marla Elliott; Stewards Coordinator, Leslie Flemmer; At-Large Members, Judith Gabriele and Sandy Yannone. Members elected to the Stewards Council include: Steve Blakeslee, and Suzanne Simons. Thank you everyone for your service!

UFE Election Committee: Brad Procter, Michael Vavrus & Grace Huerta

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May 18, 2020–COVID-19 Working Conditions & Research

Greetings UFE members. We have received emails from UFE colleagues regarding requests from the administration (via webform) for fall catalogue program information, including info about the mode of your instructional delivery: remote, hybrid and/or F2F. Also, additional information about your delivery choice was requested regarding the identification of high risk categories and teaching partners (if applicable). Please note, we have not yet begun bargaining with the administration regarding such topics as: specific workplace safety, budget ramifications and the nature and extent of support for faculty and staff. We will begin discussion of these topics this afternoon, May 18. For now, I thought I would share with you Article 18 from the current CBA regarding workplace safety. You can also visit our website (https://www.ufevergreen.org/) to review more research about COVID-19, social distancing, PPE, asymptomatic spread, ventilation/HVAC concerns, hygiene, classroom transition/cleaning, etc. Here’s Article 18:

WORKPLACE SAFETY AND HEALTH
18.1 The College and UFE are committed to providing a safe and secure work environment.  
18.2 The College shall maintain all facilities, equipment and materials in a safe and healthful condition that will comply with state and federal statutes regarding safety in the workplace.
18.3 Protective devices and clothing, and first aid equipment shall be provided to faculty members whose teaching requires such measures; if necessary, training will be provided to faculty members on the safe operation of the equipment prior to use.
18.4 Faculty members are entitled to a timely review of a workstation to evaluate ergonomic issues.  
18.5 Faculty members shall not be required to work under hazardous conditions nor perform tasks that endanger their health or safety.  No faculty member shall be disciplined or suffer a loss in pay for refusing to work in a situation where a reasonable person, acting in good faith, would conclude that there is a real danger of death or serious injury, as described in WAC 296-360-150 (See: “Discrimination Because of Exercise of Right Afforded by WISHA—Refusal to Work in an Unsafe Condition”: https://apps.leg.wa.gov/wac/default.aspx?cite=296-360-150).

That’s all for now! We will keep you posted soon.

In solidarity,
Grace Huerta
UFE Chair

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May 11, 2020–UFE Issues a Demand to Bargain

Greetings UFE members. On May 11, 2020 during the AC meeting, the UFE issued a Demand to Bargain. While the administration laid out its plans for a fall reopening specific to working conditions without UFE input, we certainly share an important concern: the need for safe working and learning conditions for our community. However, we also feel it is important that faculty are aware of some COVID-19 literature BEFORE filling out the fall instruction/catalogue survey (and academic fair info) that the administration requested we sign. Please note we have not yet negotiated important decisions about faculty workload, testing, what safe space scheduling is available, safe instructional protocols, as well as the budget for safety and remote instructional support (i.e. CARES Act funding, etc). See the following link for a perspective about COVID 19 transmission, safety, tracing and asymptomatic transmission that may inform your pedagogical decisions: https://www.ufevergreen.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/The-Risks-Know-Them-Avoid-Them.html. NEW! Also see our colleague Clarissa Dirks’ research presentation entitled: “Out of the House and Into the Classroom: Considerations for Faculty and Institutions of Higher Education in a SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic” at https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/review?uri=urn%3Aaaid%3Ascds%3AUS%3A171f8bc4-4393-4f4c-8304-e704b8c54606. You can review additional references below for more COVID-19 info.

Since early this spring, the UFE has raised concerns about the nature and extent of reopening TESC in the fall, as well as the challenges associated with remote teaching. We are especially concerned about maintaining the health and safety of students and staff while staying engaged and functioning as an institution of higher learning. We are also mindful of the ongoing emotional support and resources our students require (i.e. health care, housing, food, financial aid, employment, technology access, to name a few).

That said, as we look forward to the upcoming academic fair and fall planning, it remains clear we must have very specific planning details in place that are not just limited to generic guidelines by the state but are specific to teaching at TESC. Safety supports and prototols must in place before instruction can be considered. Faculty input is certainly a must. As you all know, these details and topics include (and are not limited to): health & hygiene practices in common spaces such as classrooms, labs, studios, rehearsal halls, restrooms; support for staff; a reconsideration of the academic calendar and possible modifications; a review of instructional challenges and team-teaching load distribution (i.e. for faculty at-risk, faculty w/children, faculty w/elderly family); a possible reduction of class size requirements; a discussion about faculty load; and lastly, what faculty and staff resources will be made available to support our collective work.

The UFE has reached out to our science colleagues for input, including Andrew Brabban, Jim Neitzel, as well as Clarissa. They have provided important insights, research studies and key points at the AC meetings. Please see Clarissa’s notes and references below). With so many issues to consider and the academic fair and fall fast approaching (with faculty about  to disperse for summer), the UFE position is that safety first is foremost before engaging to F2F/hybrid instruction. The uncertainty the pandemic brings (with no vaccine in place and limited testing available), it is difficult to imagine reopening the College for safe, equitable, in-person instruction in September. Instead, our focus includes the following two points:

First, the College must continue to focus its attention on supporting ongoing remote instructional models which begins with articulating a renewed philosophy which acknowledges that while F2F classroom instruction may not look the same, our commitment to learning, equity, sustainability, interdisciplinary instruction and community work remain our focus. Secondly, we maintain that the College must support our remote instructional needs and finance (or reimburse), the faculty’s instructional expenses beyond $50. These expenses may include remote instructional tools as: printer/scanners, printer ink, routers, monitors, white boards, electronic drawing pads/stylus, USB hubs, iPads, computers, etc. Other items specific to science and art instruction must also be financed to support the faculty’s remote working/teaching conditions.
 
The UFE is meeting with administration to discuss these two points and we will keep you informed of our progress. Until then, I want extend to my appreciation to all faculty and staff for the work they have completed during this difficult time. The UFE also wants to thank Clarissa, Andrew and Jim for their expertise and recommendations about the College’s COVID-19 response. The UFE looks forward to continuing our communications with all faculty and the administration as we strive to provide a safe teaching, learning and work environment for everyone.
 
Sincerely,
Grace Huerta
UFE Chair  

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CONSIDERATIONS REGARDING SARS-CoV2 & COVID-19 (05-03-2020) AS THEY RELATE TO FACE-TO-FACE INSTRUCTION DURING THE SUMMER-FALL, 2020

Dr. Clarissa Dirks, science faculty member at TESC whose areas of expertise include virology and epidemiology, developed the following discussion points outlined below and also provided us with a number of references to consider .

1. Infection data and modes of transmission:

  • As far as we know, most Americans haven’t been infected and we are nowhere near herd immunity (if immunity for this virus exists as that hasn’t been shown yet)
  • There is some evidence that a larger percentage of people in dense cities like New York have been infected but we don’t know if that translates to immunity; Olympia is not a large and dense city and current testing indicates only 100+ cases, so many could still be infected
  • The curve shows the rate of infection is not flattening out in the US (see tracking data) but rather in some locations; students travel from other places to Evergreen to come to school so this is a problem
  • Reports of possible aerosolization along with asymptomatic transmission (possibly 25% of those infected) make this a unique virus and challenging to control
  • SARS-Co-V2 has a much higher lethality rate (0.5-0.8) compared to Influenza ((0.1) and if everyone in the US were to become infected it is likely millions of people would die
  • Asynchronous stay-at-home-orders mean that multiple waves could occur in different locations and be imported to Olympia with Evergreen students; this coincides with the fall cold and flu season, making it more challenging
  • A new study from China shows that limiting transmissions at schools is critical (see attached document #1)

2. Testing and Contact Tracking Issues:

  • WA currently does not have enough supplies for tests and track infections at the level that we should be tracking them; a localized surge could occur without broad testing (this will likely change by the fall)
  • WA currently does not have the tracking infrastructure for tracking contacts who test positive (this will likely change by the fall)
  • Serology tests look for antibodies of those who have been infected and have cleared the virus. Some believe we can create immunity passports through these tests but there is no evidence of immunity (see attached article #2)
  • The evidence we have for the production of neutralizing antibodies indicates varying levels of antibodies produced in different individuals so there is no guarantee that people cannot be reinfected
  • The serology tests are not very accurate right now and “A false negative may prevent an individual from returning to work; a false positive might lead to an epidemic chain.” (see attached articles #2, #3 as well as news link)

CDC reference:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-data/serology-surveillance/index.html

News references: https://www.nytimes.com/article/antibody-test-coronavirus.html

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/congress-sounds-alarm-over-inaccurate-antibody-tests-n1194876

3. Therapeutics vs a vaccine:

  • There are no FDA approved drugs against SARS-CoV-2 so many are relying on testing therapeutics designed for other viruses that may help critically ill patients suffering from COVID-19; The antiviral remdemisvir has shown to be effective but is not a drug that can be used to prevent someone from becoming ill.
  • Other antivirals that target other aspects of virus replication have not shown promising results
  • Numerous vaccines are being developed at a very fast pace, which can be dangerous.
  • The current leaders in the vaccine race are those based on mRNA and adenovirus (another virus that infects humans) platforms; the first is not a proven technology but can be manufactured rapidly and the later will take much longer to manufacture (see attached paper #4)
  • If a vaccine is developed, it may not work and/or we may need more than one of them. There are different mutations of the virus (see link below) but the good news is that this virus doesn’t mutate as fast as some others
  • There will be no vaccine for the public this fall

SARS-CoV-2 mutations: https://nextstrain.org/ncov/global

Evergreen-specific considerations:

  • The average age of the faculty puts many at risk
  • We tend to attract many older students and that puts many at risk
  • We attract students who are economically disadvantaged and with fewer health care resources
  • Immunocompromised individuals and those with predisposing conditions may not want to reveal that in an opt-out model

References:

Tracking data: https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html?utm_source=Nature+Briefing&utm_campaign=ee09f96136-briefing-dy-20200130&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c9dfd39373-ee09f96136-44679001#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

Recent article about US infection rates: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/the-health-202/2020/04/29/the-health-202-millions-of-americans-were-infected-with-coronavirus-and-had-no-symptoms/5ea86d1288e0fa3dea9c4e94/

Modeling for virus spread, social distancing and travel to a central location such as a school (assumes immunity which may not be applicable): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxAaO2rsdIs

Possible aerosolization along with asymptomatic transmission: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/04/you-may-be-able-spread-coronavirus-just-breathing-new-report-finds

Social-Distancing-and-Schools.pdf: https://www.ufevergreen.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/1-Social-Distancing-and-Schools.pdf

National Strategy Serology: https://www.ufevergreen.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/2-National-Strategy-Serology.pdf

SARS-CoV2 Serology Manuscript: https://www.ufevergreen.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/3-SARS-CoV-2_Serology_Manuscript.pdf

SARS-COV2 Vaccines Report: https://www.ufevergreen.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/4-SARS-CoV2-Vaccines-Report.pdf

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March 30, 2020

UNITED FACULTY OF EVERGREEN COVID 19 MOU UPDATE

Hola Stewards Council. The United Faculty of Evergreen and Evergreen are pleased to have collaborated on the attached memorandum of understanding https://www.ufevergreen.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19_TESC_UFE-MOU-V2.2-signed.pdf. This document responds to the current pandemic and its implications for our work during the spring quarter, 2020.  The agreement, signed tonight, is in effect immediately through the remainder of spring quarter, and addresses the following main topics (as well as others):

·        Course planning and student course evaluations;

·        Faculty reviews;

·        Faculty working conditions; and

·        Professional travel and development awards.

Given the current crisis, such an MOU is unprecedented. While our MOU is unique to TESC, the UFE’s response is in solidarity with our sister unions, the United Faculty of Washington State (Western Washington University, Eastern Washington University and Central Washington University).  In essence, we strive to honor the collective work of the faculty, staff and administration in support of our students. With everything moving so fast, I feel the MOU addresses some of our most urgent working condition concerns this quarter. I will keep you all informed of other concerns as we work closely with our colleagues and administration this quarter.

In solidarity,

Grace Huerta, Ph.D.

UFE Chair

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COVID-19 Faculty Planning Days–March 17, 2020

Greetings UFE Members. I hope you and your loved ones are well. I wanted to write and let you know what the UFE and Provost Drake have been working on with the “Keep Teaching” team over the past few days.

First, the UFE requested from the administration a faculty release for week 1 of the spring quarter. The administration initially offered two days. Registration and financial aid expressed they needed time to support students during this crisis. Together, we were able to agree upon 3 days of release to help support faculty curriculum planning during week 1 and also support staff as they assist students during a complicated transition to the spring quarter.

Secondly, given the World Health Organization’s declaration of a pandemic and Governor Inslee’s state of emergency declaration, the UFE’s position has been that TESC offer remote faculty trainings exclusively. We appreciate Provost Drake and the “Keep Teaching” team support of this position. Our ongoing concerns have been that because the COVID-19 virus presents no initial symptoms, even after several days, practicing social distancing remains critical to limiting its spread. Therefore, as colleges and universities move to online teaching this spring, the UFE stresses safe working conditions for all students, staff and faculty. We maintain that any faculty and staff who do not feel safe in such face-to-face settings, that remote options be made available. We also encourage our staff colleagues to work with their unions to continue to address safe working conditions.

Lastly, the UFE understands that together we share tremendous challenges as we all balance our work duties, fatigue and personal safety during this crisis. The UFE also suggested that the remote faculty trainings be offered during spring break (in shorter segments, video-taped, etc.) which would provide staff and faculty more time to prepare, and more importantly, support the health of our larger community. The UFE expresses their appreciation of our collective efforts to maintain safe working conditions for all.

Please feel free to share this information with your colleagues.

Sincerely, Grace Huerta, UFE Chair, Jon Davies, Co-Chair, Laurie Meeker, Communications Coordinator, Gary McNeil, WEA Higher Education Organizer

UFE Membership Update, March 2020

Mar 5, 2020. Greetings UFE members! In case you haven’t heard, House Bill 1888 passed and is on to the governor for his signature. House Bill 1888 closes a loophole in the Public Records Act and helps protect the privacy and safety of school employees and other public workers. See this link for more info: https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1888&Year=2019&Initiative=false

Grace Huerta–UFE Chair
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February, 2020 — Hi UFE Members! The UFE hosted a winter social on Friday evening, Feb. 28, 2020. Thanks to everyone in attendance. In other news, the UFE held a membership meeting on Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the college recovery initiatives and the support of faculty with regular appointments who are still on term contracts (i.e. tenure-track faculty). In review, below are other major points addressed at the meeting and our recent accomplishments in 2019-20.

October, 2020. The TESC/ UFE CBA Guarantees Academic Work and Judgment as the Sole Criterian Deciding Tenure at Evergreen.

There are some who have challenged this quarter the tenure process at Evergreen (yes, we use different language at Evergreen, regular term and continuing faculty for tenure track and tenured faculty).

Our CBA protects the integrity of academic work and judgement in determining term and continuing contracts. Tenure decisions are not made about money or budget cuts. Money is not a criteria.

Both UFE and TESC agree to the following contractual language:

Article 5 Faculty Membership

5.2 Regular Faculty. If the faculty member meets the standards and criteria for conversion in Section 11.2, he or she will receive a three-year term contract. If the member meets the standards and criteria for reappointment described in Section 11.3, a second term contract leads to a continuing contract.

The CBA is clear: academic work and judgment lead to decisions about tenure. Nothing else.

Article 9 Regular Faculty Review

9.1 Criteria used for all regular faculty reviews are based on the faculty member’s responsibilities as defined in Article 6 of this Agreement and documented in the faculty member’s portfolio.

The CBA is clear: academic work documented in the portfolio and academic judgment based on Article 6 Professional Responsibilities lead to tenure. Nothing else.

Article 11 Regular Faculty Appointment, Reappointment and Conversion.

11.1 Criteria used for reappointment and conversion are based on the faculty member’s responsibilities as defined in Article 6 of this Agreement and documented in the faculty member portfolio.

The CBA is clear. Academic work documented in the portfolio and academic judgment based on Article 6 Professional Responsibilities are the only criteria in determining tenure. Nothing else.

If the TESC Administration wants to address faculty line reductions, there are CBA provisions in Article 16 Professional Leave and Article 23 Reduction in Force.  They can also propose another supplemental Early Retirement proposal. They cannot do a silent RIF by destroying the contractual processes for tenure enshrined in the CBA.

UFE will defend tenure. We will defend commitments made to term faculty. Without tenure, there is no College.

The UFE Bargaining Team

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Sept.- Oct, 2019-2020. UFE Accomplishments: as we completed our 2019 contract re-opener, it was good to look back at our collective union efforts over time. Given the challenges facing Evergreen, we have sought to “pitch in” and continue to support the mission of the College, while addressing the working conditions of the faculty and the learning conditions of the students. Here are some of our gains and efforts during the past few years:

  • Ongoing protection of the faculty with regular appointments who are currently on term contracts;
  • 3% wage increase for all faculty in 2020-21;
  • 3% wage increase for all faculty in 2019-20;
  • 2% wage increase for all faculty in 2017-19;
  • 3% wage increase for all faculty in 2016-17;
  • 3% wage increase for all faculty in 2015-16;
  • 5.5% wage increase for all faculty in 2013-14;
  • 12.5% wage increase for all faculty in 2008-10, plus additional pay increases for adjunct faculty;
  • Paths of Study & Curriculum Area Team (CAT) co-authors, planning & implementation w/TESC admin, 2018-2021; negotiated CAT leader paid release time;
  • Bargain and administer the 2018-21 CBA through contract negotiations and ongoing labor/management meetings;
  • Strong grievance procedure, including due process rights for all faculty members;
  • Revisions to the waiver policy regarding teaching partners and lower division teaching commitments;
  • Protection of sabbatical lines;
  • Protection of post-retirement contracts;
  • Restoration of summer institute funding beginning in 2015 through 2021;
  • Expansion of parental leave to include all parents, regardless of gender;
  • Expansion of medical leave for adjunct faculty;
  • Increased job security for adjuncts through the establishment of multi-year contracts;
  • Hiring process/eligibility for 10 long-term adjuncts to tenure-track, ½-time EWS faculty from 2016-2020;
  • Opportunity for further transition of long-term EWS adjunct faculty in 2017-18;
  • One-time conversion of 4 long-time adjunct faculty members to regular status in 2008;
  • Creation of The UFE Memorial Fund, in honor of our founding UFE faculty members, Jose Gomez and Zahid Shariff;
  • Expansion of the UFE Solidarity Scholarship Fund: $12,000-$8000 awards available beginning 2018-19. In 2019-20, the UFE awarded scholarships @ $1000 per student  (including eligibility for DACA & undocumented students);
  • Ongoing support of community and education partnerships through the UFE Solidarity Fund;
  • Creation of a UFE Political Endorsement Protocol & Application, 2019. See: https://www.ufevergreen.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/UFE-Endorsement-Application-Final-1.0.docx

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.

UFE CC.

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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 Membership Mtg_Friday, Feb. 3 in Sem2 B1107_5-6:30!

Greetings UFE Members. This is a reminder of our membership meeting on Friday, Feb. 3 from 5-6:30 p.m. in Sem2, B-1107. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss our upcoming bargaining survey and priorities, sabbaticals, MYC process, DACA actions, to name a few topics.

We sure hope you can attend this important meeting.

Thanks all,

Grace Huerta, UFE Chair

 

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Fall Quarter Update, 2016

Greetings UFE Members. As you know, this has been a very challenging quarter on a number of fronts. Nevertheless, together the Coordinating Committee and Stewards Council have been engaged in a number of union activities this fall.

They activities include:

UFE membership drive. With our new dues schedule in place this fall, the Coordinating Committee (CC) and Stewards Council (SC) actively invited faculty to join the UFE. In 9 weeks, we have increased our membership by 10 percent. Please contact your union leadership about other faculty members who may be interested in joining.

Provost search candidate meetings. This quarter, the CC met with both provost candidates. Our interactions focused on how our next chief academic officer will provide College leadership and address contract implementation. We also wanted to convey to the candidates that we are proud of the CBA, a body of work that represents a shared, collaborative effort by the UFE and administration since the union’s founding 10 years ago. Both parties own the CBA, a document whose language represents our shared commitment to the College and the students we serve.

After meeting with both candidates, the CC discussed their strengths specific to their collective-bargaining experience and work pertaining to union matters. While we have not ranked the candidates, we do recognize that each person offers different skills. Dr. Colleen Greer established her experiences working within a union framework and impressed us with her collaboration with tribal learning communities. She also expressed a familiarity with our CBA. Dr. Jennifer Drake impressed us with her experiences working across disciplines and programs. While she did not express a familiarity with our CBA, she articulated her commitment to faculty advocacy. Our CC agreed that Dr. Drake should not be ruled out because of her unfamiliarity with the contract.

Monthly meetings interim provost w/Ken Tabbutt.  Ken and I have met regularly this quarter to discuss topics relevant to faculty working conditions. In the spirit of keeping the lines of communication open, we have discussed a number of issues such as grievance procedures, faculty working conditions and upcoming initiatives (i.e. Equity Council strategic plan). We hope to continue these meetings next quarter.

Multiyear contracts 2017 follow-up. We have also been in communication with the administration and deanery regarding the multiyear contract application process. We are concerned about the deans allowing enough time to meet the Feb. 1. 2017 deadline in conjunction with planning units. We are watching how the process unfolds. Please see Article 10.2 in the current CBA for more details: https://www.ufevergreen.org/collective-bargaining-agreement/. Here is an excerpt from Article 10.2 regarding the process:

10.2.2(a) Curricular Need and a Predictable Curriculum. The areas in which multi-year contracts are considered each year are based on curricular need, reflected by past and anticipated enrollment and the desire to provide a predictable curriculum. Each year, Deans will invite Planning Units to discuss and make recommendations regarding academic areas where ongoing demand suggests multi-year contracts would be needed to support and strengthen the curriculum.

Recommendations should include the duration of the anticipated need and the academic level and number of credits for contracts that would help meet the curricular need. Based on recommendations received and on their own assessment of the curriculum, the Deans will develop a list of areas where multi-year contracts may be offered. The Deans will share this list with the Planning Unit Coordinators.

10.2.2(b) Application. By February 1 of the year before a multiyear contract is being requested or requested for renewal, the adjunct faculty member submits a letter of application for a multiyear contract to the deans. The application will include a current CV, a retrospective self-evaluation, and the adjunct member’s portfolio.

10.2.2(c) Review. After February 1, the deans will convene a multi-year contract review committee including the EWS dean, a curriculum dean, and five regular faculty selected from a diverse pool of regular faculty members on continuing appointment identified by the Faculty Agenda Committee. The purpose of the meeting is to review the applications and to make recommendations to the dean for or against the award of a multi-year contract for each applicant. Criteria informing the recommendations shall include the list identified in 10.2.2(a), the responsibilities of an Evergreen faculty member as defined in Article 6 of this agreement and documented in the faculty member’s portfolio, and the usual criteria considered by hiring committees. By the end of winter quarter, the college will make offers, taking into consideration the recommendations of the committee, and informing the committee in writing of its rationale should the offers differ from the recommendations. Management’s judgment about the likelihood of future enrollment and financial resources to fulfill the contract may affect the number and scope of contracts offered.

Undocumented students & DACA legal support. While the UFE has made a formal request to President Bridges to designate TESC as a sanctuary campus, we have not received a response. We understand there are a variety of responses and directions the college can take and are certainly keeping an eye on TESC’s response, as well as other other responses from members of the United Faculty of Washington State (TESC, Eastern, Western and Central universities). The UFE is also working in collaboration with TESC’s Latinx Standing Committee and our own student group, MEXA. In the meantime, the UFE is seeking to develop legal support contacts for undocumented Evergreen students in Olympia. Stay tuned for more information..

Preliminary discussions regarding upcoming bargaining sessions. In the winter quarter, 2017 we will survey faculty about their collective bargaining priorities. While some faculty have been in communication with the CC this fall about various issues and concerns, we hope to invite more input as we begin preparations for our upcoming collective bargaining sessions in 2017.

This is a brief update of our endeavors this fall. Best wishes during evaluation week. Thank you for your hard work this quarter.

In solidarity,
Grace Huerta, UFE Chair

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New UFE Dues Schedule & Rep Fee Update, Sept. 2016

Greetings United Faculty of Evergreen. Welcome back! The UFE Coordinating Committee (CC) and Stewards Council (SC) look forward to working with you this year. As the 2016-17 academic year begins, we are now in the second year of a two-year collective bargaining agreement. All faculty received a 3% salary increase this fall. That is 6% from our 2014-16 CBA!

As our union nears its 10th anniversary on October 31st, we will continue to work on representing all Evergreen faculty in effective ways. In response to feedback from our members, we will address two major priorities in 2016-2017: first, the implementation of a new, more equitable dues structure to support new members, and; second, the preparation for another round of collective bargaining. The current contract expires in August 2017, so we are likely to start negotiations in winter 2017. We will begin preparations this fall, with leadership provided by our Bargaining Chair, Jon Davies.

Our dues structure is based on income brackets, promoting equity and encouraging new faculty and current faculty who are not members to join the UFE. This new structure is as follows:

United Faculty of WA State-TESC Chapter Dues Structure and Rates 2016-17
$75K +  $803.00  annually, or  $40.15 per pay period (20)
$60K – 74,999K  $672.00  annually, or  $33.60 per pay period (20)
$50K – 59,999K  $550.00  annually, or  $27.50 per pay period (20)
$40K – 49,999K  $392.00  annually, or  $19.60 per pay period (20)
Below 40K  $243.00  annually, or  $12.15 per pay period (20)

This dues structure replaces the previous framework that was based on faculty categories. This fall, we will also ask the UFE Stewards to be a major part to ensure that the new dues structure is a success. They will be meeting with faculty and request their feedback about bargaining priorities, as well as to invite them to join the UFE. With new Stewards Coordinator, John Baldridge leading the way, the CC & SC will conduct important one-on-one outreach to our colleagues. We will survey faculty and hold forums to invite input regarding collective bargaining priorities.

With our focus on these initiatives – the new dues structure, membership recruitment, and bargaining preparation – the UFE Coordinating Committee has decided not to implement the representation fee for the 2016-17 academic year. Instead, join the UFE!

Why join? Over the last 10 years, the union has delivered tremendous benefits and support to all faculty. What are some of the gains and initiatives the UFE has made since 2006?

  • 5% wage increase for all faculty in 2008-10, plus additional pay increases for adjunct faculty
  • 5% wage increase for all faculty in 2013-14
  • 3% wage increase for all faculty in 2015-16
  • 3% wage increase for all faculty in 2016-17
  • We continue to bargain and administer the CBA through contract negotiations and ongoing labor/management meetings
  • Strong grievance procedure, including due process rights for all faculty members
  • Revisions to the waiver policy regarding teaching partners and lower division teaching commitments
  • Protection of sabbatical lines
  • Protection of class sizes and reduction in the student-faculty ratio for first-year students through 2017
  • Restoration of summer institute funding in 2015-17
  • Expansion of parental leave to include all parents, regardless of gender
  • Expansion of medical leave for adjunct faculty
  • Increased job security for adjuncts through the establishment of multi-year contracts
  • One-time transition of 6 long-term, ½-time EWS faculty beginning in 2016
  • Opportunity for further transition of long-term EWS adjunct faculty in 2017-18
  • One-time conversion of 4 long-time adjunct faculty members to regular status in 2008
  • The creation of The UFE Memorial Fund, in honor of our founding UFE faculty members, Jose Gomez and Zahid Shariff
  • The creation of the UFE Scholarship Fund
  • Ongoing support of community and education partnerships through the UFE Solidarity Fund

In addition, UFE members and new faculty are invited to learn more about our ongoing work and share ideas together. Join us at our fall social. Please save the date of Friday, Oct. 7 from 5-7 where we will host our fall gathering in Olympia (more info will be provided via off-campus email). The guest speaker will be Bill Lyne from Western Washington University and President of the United Faculty of Washington State (this includes our sister unions, Central Washington University, Eastern Washington University, as well as Western Washington University).

Finally, thanks for your support of the UFE as we seek to increase our membership and bargain for an even better contract this academic year. Together, we will continue to support student success while advancing faculty work and the College’s academic mission.

Please feel free to contact us directly if you have ideas or questions.

In solidarity,

The UFE Coordinating Committee

Grace Huerta, Chair; John Davies, Vice-chair & Bargaining Team Chair; John Baldridge, Stewards Coodinator; Marla Elliott, Treasurer; Laurie Meeker, Communications Coordinator; Stephen Beck & Al Josephy, At- Large Representatives.

 

 

 

UFE Coordinating Committee & Stewards Council Vote to Support Oaxaca Teachers Union

The United Faculty of Evergreen (UFE) representing more than 250 faculty at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, joins its voice to that of other educational unions, organizations, students and civil society to denounce the violence and killings unleashed upon the teachers in Mexico.

We condemn the extreme violence that the Mexican State has used and continues to perpetuate against teachers in Mexico, most recently on June 19, 2016 in Nochixtlán, Oaxaca, who have been and continue to protest the all out privatization of education and the punitive education “reforms,” which have resulted until now in the deaths of at least nine people. We call on President Enrique Pena Nieto to immediately end the continued attacks, and to guarantee the human, civil, political and labor rights of teachers, education workers, as well as students and community members in Mexico who are exercising their political right to protest the privatization of their educational system.

Teachers, educational workers, students and supporting members of their families and communities have been subjected to extreme violations of these rights, including:

  • On Sunday, June 19, at least nine teachers and students protesting the government’s corporate education reform program were shot and killed in peaceful demonstrations in Oaxaca, and dozens more wounded, by Federal police.
  • The three top elected officers of Oaxaca’s teachers union, Section 22 of the National Coordination of Education Workers (Sección 22 de la Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación – CNTE) – Ruben Nuñez, Francisco Villalobos and Aciel Sibaja – have been illegally imprisoned in the Federal penitentiary a thousand miles from Oaxaca.
  • Over three thousand teachers have been fired for striking, and thousands more for refusing to administer standardized tests for students, or to take standardized tests for teachers, that are part of the Federal government’s education reform.
  • Mexico’s Secretary of Public Education, Aurelio Nuño Mayer, has threatened to close the teacher training schools (the “normal” schools) that have developed generations of teachers, especially from poor rural communities. An attack on the Ayotzinapa school in Guerrero two years ago led to the disappearance of 43 students, which still remain unaccounted for, and which no one has been brought to justice.

As educators, we are very concerned about the corporate direction of Mexico’s Federal education reform program, as we are about similar programs in the United States. We oppose the privatization of public education, and of the corporate-directed programs for standardized testing of students and teachers. We are especially opposed to the use of those tests as the instruments for mass firings, as has been suggested in both countries, and as a tool against education workers unionizing.

There is no possible excuse for imposing these reforms at gunpoint, for violently suppressing the rights of teachers to advocate for themselves and their students, and for firing and jailing teachers when they do so. We call for an immediate halt to the extensive support in money and training received by the Mexican police and military from the United States, given the use of such heavy arms and anti-personnel tactics in the recent killings in Oaxaca, and the illegal imprisonment of teacher union leaders. We ask Washington State’s Congressional delegation to hold hearings to investigate the recent events in Oaxaca, the case of the 43 disappeared students of Ayotzinapa, and the grave violations of the rights of teachers, students and the broader community in Mexico.

We support the statement issued by the Civil Society of Oaxaca demanding that the government:

  • End the wrongful and disproportionate use of force and repression against the teachers who make use of their legitimate right to free expression and free protest.
  • Establish a round table for dialogue with the teachers of Oaxaca.
  • Provide medical attention for all persons injured as a result of the violent acts of the State.
  • Immediately and unconditionally release the political poisoners who have been arrested in an arbitrary and illegal manner and which include: Sara Altamirano Ramos, Mario Olivera Osorio, Lauro Atilano Grijalva Villalobos, Damián Gallardo Martínez y Leonel Manzano Sosa, Óscar Hernández Neri, Othón Nazariega Segura, Roberto Abel Jiménez García, Efraín Picazo Pérez, Juan Carlos Orozco Matus, Aciel Sibaja Mendoza, Heriberto Magariño López, Francisco Villalobos Ricárdez, Rubén Núñez Ginez, Rubén Sarabia Sánchez, Atl Sarabia Reyna, Xihuel Sarabia Reyna, and the 25 political prisoners of the FPR-Oaxaca (8 being held in CEFERESO in Mengolí, Miahuatlán, and 17 in CERESO in Etla, Oaxaca)
  • An immediate stop of the repression against the Union of Guerrero State Public Service Workers (Sindicato Único de Servidores Públicos del Estado de Guerrero – SUSPEG).
  • Complete Support and protection of the Political Commission of Section 22 of the National Coordination of Education Workers (Sección 22 de la Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación – CNTE), collective leadership of the Democratic Movement of Education Workers in Oaxaca.
  • Bring to justice all persons responsible for the arbitrary detentions, torture and violations of Human Rights against members of the teachers’ union of Oaxaca, CNTE, students and community members.

On September 1, the UFE Coordination Committee and Stewards Council, with a majority vote, supports this resolution.

Special thanks to the UFE Solidarity Committee: Peter Bohmer, Savvina Chowdhury, Michael Vavrus, UFE faculty; Carlos Marentes, visiting TESC faculty member.

En solidaridad,

Grace Huerta, UFE Chair

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