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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Freedom Foundation Public Records Request FAQs

What is a public record?

A public record is any state or local record relating to the conduct of government or the performance of a governmental function, and is prepared, used or retained by any state or local agency. A public record can exist in any form such as: writing, recordings, photos, or emails. Public records are maintained by state and governmental agencies. The Evergreen State College maintains a public records website http://www.evergreen.edu/publicrecords/ and employs a public records officer whose role is to insure that TESC is in compliance with the Washington State Public Records Act (RCW 42.56). For comprehensive information about RCW 42.56 see: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=42.56

Who made the request and what is the information they are seeking?

This public records request was made by the Freedom Foundation on April 14, 2016. The UFE was first notified of this request by TESC’s public records office on Friday afternoon, May 20, 2016. The information requested by the Freedom Foundation includes the following: “The first name, last name, middle initial, birthdate and work email address of every current Evergreen State College employee represented by the United Faculty of Evergreen as part of the bargaining unit certified by the Public Employment Relations Commission in Case 20368-E-06-3150.” Because the UFE represents all faculty members, all faculty are subject to this request.

Who is the Freedom Foundation?

The Freedom Foundation aggressively conducts legal and public relations campaigns against labor unions, workers and their families nationally and locally. The Freedom Foundation is also connected to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) which promotes extremist issues ranging from anti-immigrant SB 1070 in Arizona to dismantling voting rights, challenging climate change as well as environmental protections.

Organizations like the Freedom Foundation refer to themselves as “think tanks” but operate as non-profits. They serve as front groups for extremist donors who oppose raising the minimum wage, threaten public education, challenge paid sick leave, attack LGBQT rights, and imperil women’s reproductive rights. To see what the Freedom Foundation says about themselves, see their website: http://www.myfreedomfoundation.com/

In a concerted effort to turn Washington into a “right to work” state and dismantle our right to representation and collective bargaining, the Freedom Foundation has made public record requests to other state agencies. These state institutions include:

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
BELLEVUE COLLEGE
CENTRALIA COLLEGE
COMMUNITY COLLEGES OF SPOKANE
EVERETT COMMUNITY COLLEGE
DEPARTMENT OF EARLY LEARNING
DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES
DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY
DEPARTMENT OF ENTERPRISE SERVICES
EMPLOYMENT SECURITY DEPARTMENT
GREEN RIVER COMMUNITY COLLEGE
HEALTH CARE AUTHORITY
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
WASHINGTON HORSE RACING COMMISSION
WASHINGTON HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
DEPARTMENT OF LICENSING
LABOR AND INDUSTRIES
LOWER COLUMBIA COLLEGE
WASHINGTON MILITARY DEPARTMENT
OFFICE OF INSURANCE COMMISSIONER
OFFICE OF WOMEN AND MINORITY BUSINESS ENTERPRISES
PENINSULA COLLEGE
SEATTLE COLLEGE DISTRICT
SHORELINE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
SOUTH PUGET SOUND COMMUNITY COLLEGE
THE EVERGREEN STATE COLLEGE
WASHINGTON UTILITIES AND TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION
WASHINGTON STATE PATROL
WHATCOM COMMUNITY COLLEGE
WORKFORCE TRAINING AND EDUCATION COORDINATING BOARD
ARTS COMMISSION

As a result, we stand in solidarity with our sister colleges & institutions who have received public records requests from the Freedom Foundation.

Who funds them?

The Freedom Foundation’s donors include the Koch Brothers. The foundation maintains financial ties to other groups such as the Donors Trust, the Searle Foundation, the Walmart Foundation, and the Murdock Charitable Trust. All have a history of funding and supporting an anti-union agenda. For more information about The Freedom Foundation funding, see the SourceWatch website at: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Evergreen_Freedom_Foundation

Why does the Freedom Foundation want our birth dates?

The Freedom Foundation, according to its spokesperson, Max Nelson, stated in an April 29 story published by KPLU that “Our goal is to make sure public employees are informed of their rights, are practically able to exercise them, and we think there’s a lot of work to be done to give public employees more control over their workplace representation.”

Some of our sister unions have challenged the Freedom Foundation’s request for birth dates, particularly as they pertain to privacy. For example, on April 27, 2016 the Washington Federation of State Employees/AFSCME Council 28 asked the Thurston County Superior Court to stop the release of the birth dates of state employees in several agencies. A hearing is expected in two to three weeks (by the end of May 2016). For more information about the WFSE case see sidebar and these links: http://wfse.org/injunction-request-filed/  and http://wfse.org/info-release-delayed-51316/

What to expect regarding this public records request? What’s next?

We are in ongoing consultation with our state affiliates, the Washington Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers. We are mindful of RCW 42.56.230 which calls into question three points: 1) whether records contain personal information; 2) whether employees have a privacy interest in that personal information; and, 3) whether disclosure of that personal information would violate their right to privacy. Currently, birth dates do not appear to meet RCW 42.56.230 personal information criteria. For more info on personal information see RCW 42.56. 230: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=42.56.230

We will also consider RCW 42.56.050 which is used to determine whether the right to privacy exists in a specific record. A person’s right to privacy is invaded or violated only if disclosure of information about the person would be: 1) highly offensive to a reasonable person; and 2) is not of legitimate concern to the public. See: http://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=42.56.050

In sum, the Freedom Foundation has solicited this information in accordance with Washington state law. Faculty can expect to receive emails or perhaps even a knock on their door in order to threaten the existence of our union. We will provide updates on our website regarding any further developments. We will continue to use this site to provide information in accordance with the Public Ethics Board policy regarding the use of non-state resources for these communications.

Thank you for your support.

The UFE Coordinating Committee

 

2016 UFE Election Results

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UFE members cast their ballots May 16-18 to elect Officers and Stewards for the 2016-2018 term.  Voter turnout was 43 percent of the UFE membership. Election results are as follows:

UFE Chair:  Grace Huerta, elected with 93% of votes cast.

Vice-Chair:  Jon Davies, elected with 98% of votes cast.

Stewards Coordinator:  John Baldridge, elected with 97% of votes cast.

Communications Coordinator:  Laurie Meeker, elected with 95% of votes cast.

Treasurer:  Marla Elliott, elected with 98% of votes cast.

At-Large Representatives:  Stephen Beck, elected with 93% of votes cast and Al Josephy elected with 92% of votes cast.

The Stewards Slate was elected with 98% of votes cast. Stewards elected to the 2016-18 term are:

John Baldridge, Stephen Beck, Jon Davies, Marla Elliott, Leslie Flemmer, Judith Gabriele, Grace Huerta, Al Josephy, Cynthia Kennedy, Laurie Meeker, Carolyn Prouty, Frances Rains, Julie Russo, Rebecca Sunderman, Richard Weiss, Elizabeth Williamson, David Wolach, Pauline Yu, Anthony Zaragoza.

To see the vote tally click here.

UFE Elections 2016-18 Term

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Beginning on Monday, May 16 through Wednesday, May 18 we are conducting our UFE Officers, Stewards and At-large Elections for the July 2016-18 term. During last week’s membership meeting, and according to our bylaws, a candidate slate was presented & nominations were taken from the floor. The slate can be found at the bottom of this post.
Please cast your vote at our polling station in front of SemII A2117 (Cluster Support Office) on:
Monday, May 16 (12-1 & 5-6) SemII A2117
Tuesday, May 17 (12-1 & 5-6) SemII A2117
Wednesday, May 18 (12-1) SemII A2117
Wednesday, May 18 (5-5:20pm in the SemII B1105 foyer after the faculty meeting)
If you are off-campus, you can request an absentee ballot from Carolyn Prouty at: carprouty@gmail.com.
Thank you for your participation!
UFE Election Committee:
Anne Fischel, Carolyn Prouty & Sandy Yannone

 

SLATE OF CANDIDATES:

Coordinating Committee Officers

Chair:  Grace Huerta;  Vice–Chair:  Jon Davies;  Treasurer:  Marla Elliott;  Communications Coordinator:  Laurie Meeker;  Steward Coordinator:  John Baldridge;  At-Large Representatives:  Stephen Beck and Alvin (Al) Josephy

UFE STEWARDS SLATE:

The following faculty members have agreed to the nomination for UFE Stewards Council: John Baldridge, Stephen Beck, Jon Davies, Marla Elliott, Leslie Flemmer, Judith Gabriele, Anne Fischel, Grace Huerta, Al Josephy, Cynthia Kennedy, Laurie Meeker, Carolyn Prouty, Frances Rains, Julie Russo, Rebecca Sunderman, Richard Weiss, Elizabeth Williamson, David Wolach, Pauline Yu, Anthony Zaragoza.