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UFE/TESC COVID-19 Working Conditions MOU Update

March 30, 2020

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

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

Governor Inslee outlines restrictions for Higher Ed, moving instruction to on-line learning

In a press conference today, Friday March 13, Governor Jay Inslee announced restrictions to educational activities on college campuses related to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The Governor indicated that higher ed institutions will be restrict in-person instruction from Tuesday March 17 through Friday April 24. The first possible day back will be Monday April 27, the beginning of week 5 in the Evergreen academic calendar.

You can watch this section of the Governor’s press conference here, (2:52 through 3:57). The transcript follows:

“Second, we are also going to restrict activity at all statewide public and private universities, colleges, community colleges, and technical schools, and private career schools, and apprenticeships. The restriction will essentially say that there will not be in-person education happening on their campuses. The same dates we are using for the K-12 school closure will also apply to the higher education closures as well* – although I don’t think actually we should call them closures when it comes to colleges because they will be able to continue robust on-line learning in many cases. Labs and clinics may continue if social distancing, six feet, is imposed and a person is designated by the college or institution to ensure implementation of social distancing. We also will permit continued core functions, including administration, safety, continued use of dorms, food service, research and medical clinics.” 

See the full Proclamation 20-12 of March 13, 2020 document here.

*Closure dates were announced earlier in the press conference as Tuesday March 17 through Friday April 24. First day back will be Monday April 27 which is the beginning of week 5.)

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