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Core UFE Members at a rally: Stephanie Kozik, Jose Gomez, Sarah Ryan (Front L to R)                Bob Woods, Marianne Hoepli, Michael Vavrus (Back L to R)

  • 2002: “Enabling legislation” was passed in Washington State, a new statute that granted collective bargaining rights to faculty at the state’s public 4-year institutions of higher education. (RCW 41.76)
  • The statute provides that there can be only one bargaining unit at each of the 4-year institutions (unlike other WA state collective bargaining units). This led the Washington State Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) to take the position that all individuals who hold faculty status must be in the bargaining unit.[2]
  • Pre-history: Prior to the enabling legislation, Eastern Washington University faculty and administrators entered into voluntary negotiations. Eastern held an election in 1994 and United Faculty of Eastern (also UFE) was certified as their representative bargaining unit (listed as UFE, American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and National Education Association (NEA). UFEastern and EWU negotiated their first contract in 1994, and second contract in 2004. PERC certified the bargaining unit to include full-time faculty employees and excluded administrators, deans and part-time employees. When the statute authorizing collective bargaining was enacted in 2002, EWU and UFE learned from PERC that the UFE would need to be certified under the new legislation.[3]
  • Other Public Sector Collective Bargaining: community college faculty were authorized to collectively bargain in 1987. Prior to 2004, classified staff had collective bargaining but wages and benefits were established by the legislature; collective bargaining with classified staff was modified in 2004 to include bargaining over wages.[4]
  • After the enabling legislation was passed, WEA funded a full time higher-education organizer, Gary McNeil, to organize the regional colleges/universities. Eastern, Central, Western (2006) all won their elections to establish collective bargaining units.
  • 2005:  TESC organizing began with meetings of interested faculty, and a large organizing committee was established. In 2005-06 organizing and faculty deliberation continued at faculty meetings, panel discussions, etc. The organizing committee met with nearly every member of the faculty to determine interest in forming a faculty union, and by spring quarter we were confident that a majority of Evergreen faculty supported the union.
  • May 1, 2006 we filed our intention to become a certified collective bargaining unit with PERC and scheduled the vote for fall 2006.
  • On Oct. 31, 2006 the vote results were tallied in favor of UFE/UFWS “as exclusive bargaining representative for the purpose of collective bargaining with their employer.” (PERC case 20368-E-06-3150; certification document Nov. 8, 2006). Unofficial motto: “Boo!”
  • 2007 Spring: The first bargaining team was formed in to develop and negotiate our first collective bargaining agreement. The team began meeting during the summer of 2007 and continued throughout fall and winter quarters to complete a comprehensive first contract proposal, presented to the administration’s representatives in March 2008. Bargaining Team members were: Chuck Pailthorp, Gery Gerst, Jose Gomez, Jeanne Hahn, Allen StandingBear Jenkins, Gary McNeil, (UFWS) Laurie Meeker, Zahid Shariff, Rebecca Sunderman, Edward Taub (UFWS) and Brian Walter. Negotiations continued through spring and summer.[5]
  • 2008: The United Faculty of Evergreen Founding Meeting took place on the first of February. Members approved our constitution and bylaws, started a Nominations and Elections Committee for election of UFE officers and heard a bargaining report from the UFE Bargaining Team Chair, Chuck Pailthorp. Nominations and Elections Committee members were, Krishna Chowdary Dan Leahy, and Liza Rognas.[6]
  • March 2008: Elections for our first slate of officers took place during winter quarter. The results: Laurie Meeker, Chair; Jose Gomez, Vice-Chair; Ruth Hayes, Communications Coordinator; Rebecca Sunderman, Treasurer; Sarah Ryan, Steward Coordinator; and Gillies Malnarich and Tony Zaragoza, At-Large Representatives. Two-year term.

group photo of 2008 Stewards

Photo Caption:  Members of the Stewards Council took a break from their September 17, 2008 meeting. Top row from left: Sarah Ryan, Susan Preciso, Stephen Beck,Judy Gabrielle, Stephanie Kozick, Elizabeth Williamson, Jose Gomez, Rebecca Sunderman, Anne Fischel. Middle row: Laurie Meeker, Gillies Malnarich, Chuck Pailthorp, Emily Lardner, Ernestine Kimbro, Sonja Wiedenhaupt, Tony Zaragoza, Pete Bohmer. Bottom row: Anita Lenges, Zahid Shariff, Allen Standing Bear Jenkins, Andrew Reece, Peter Dorman, Joe Tougas, Ruth Hayes. (2008 stewards not pictured: Peter Bacho, Kathleen Eamon, Marianne Hoepli, Nancy Koppelman, Barbara Laners, Daryl Morgan, Donald Morisato, Alan Parker, Liza Rognas, Bob Woods, Julia Zay, EJ Zita.)

  • November 2008: Our first Collective Bargaining Agreement was ratified and remained in effect Nov. 12, 2008 through August 31, 2011.[7] Highlights included advances in equity (multi-year contracts for adjuncts; 90% compensation for adjuncts, up from 80%; One-Time Hiring Process for Long-Time Temporary Faculty), increased compensation (10.5 percent increase to base for all faculty plus 2 percent over the next two years), strong benefits package (protection of medical leave 180 days full pay and benefits; expansion of medical leave in the form of 2 weeks paid leave for temporary faculty; expansion of parental leave – 6 weeks paid leave for a all parents, including mothers, fathers, adoptive parents) and solid union rights: a three year contract, union recognition, grievance procedures, including third-party arbitration, and discipline and discharge rules that require just cause and protects due process rights.[8]


Gary McNeil, Laurie Meeker, José Gómez after negotiations concluded at 5:00 am Oct. 21, 2008

  • Budget Crisis, Winter/Spring 2009 – UFE developed a strong statement of support for the Public Service Centers, approved by the Stewards Council and presented at the faculty meeting on Feb.25th. The statement called for transparency in reviewing the whole college budget, not just the Academic Division’s budget, and emphasized the importance of the Public Service Centers to Evergreen’s mission.[9] In addition, weak language in the CBA allowed the College to make significant, permanent reductions to faculty development and travel opportunities (25 percent cuts to faculty travel, sponsored research, and summer institutes). See the UFE Communiqué, Volume 2, Issue 4, June 8, 2009 for further details.[10]
  • 2009-2010 UFE was engaged in a number of political actions, including participating in a major rally, testifying at the legislature, and gathering signatures for I-1098. In February 2010, The Protect our Future Rally was organized by a broad based coalition of health, education, labor, and social service groups including our local union and state affiliates. Over 6,000 workers, service providers, educators, and students rallied on the Capitol steps to call for an end to regressive budget cuts and to encourage lawmakers to find smart revenue solutions to fund education and social services. In March, UFE members helped deliver 36,000 signatures to Attorney General Rob McKenna’s office protesting his decision to take legal action to block federal heath care reform. In addition, UFE Chair Laurie Meeker testified before the House Finance Committee in support of a bill designed to raise revenue and close tax loopholes to fund education and social services. In June, UFE members spent several days at the Farmers Market educating the public and gathering signatures for Initiative-1098 aimed at creating a fairer tax system for our state. We gathered over 150 signatures in a campaign that successfully put the initiative on the ballot.[11]


UFE Members Martha Rosemeyer, Lin Nelson,and Anne Fischel with Peter Kardas at the Protect Our Future Rally in Feb. 2010

  • April 2011 – UFE members joined an estimated 10,000 fellow union members at the Put People First Labor Rally at the Washington State Capitol on April 8, 2011. The rally was organized by the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC) and thousands came to show their solidarity and strength as workers hit hard by the recession. United Faculty of Evergreen participants were proud to be union that day, along with 10,000 others in a show of strength and resolve to stop the war on workers.

Bob Woods and Marianne Hoepli at the rally

Bob Woods and Marianne Hoepli at the rally

7,000-12,000 union members gather on the steps of the Capitol building in Olympia, April 8, 2011

7,000-12,000 union members gather on the steps of the Capitol building in Olympia, April 8, 2011

  • 2010-12 Negotiations: UFE’s second Bargaining Team was formed in spring 2010 to prepare to negotiate our second contract. Team members included: Rebecca Sunderman, Chair. Jose Gomez, Grace Huerta, Gary McNeil (WEA/UFWS), Laurie Meeker, Sarah Ryan, and Joli Sandoz. The team began meeting in summer 2010 to review the contract and prepare proposals. Negotiations began during winter quarter 2011 and continued over 14 months until the following spring when the parties reached a TA in June 2012. The contract is in effect June 14, 2012 – August 31, 2014. The goal of the second contract was to protect and enhance the academic mission of the college “through student recruitment and retention with a focus on faculty vitality.” (UFE Digest of Highlights/Changes in 2012-2014 Collective Bargaining Agreement)[12] The Digest explained: “A vibrant faculty can engage and inspire students. This two-year agreement reflects institutional support of faculty, which in turn supports students and enhances the mission of the college, even in uncertain financial times.” Highlights included improvements to compensation (5.5% increase to the faculty salary grid in fall 2013), increased travel funds (faculty travel funding available to each faculty member increased – from $750 under the last contract – to $1000 annually), protection of 22 quarters of sabbatical leave, and recognition of UFE role in evaluating student-faculty ratio reductions for first-year and lower –division programs, piloted in 2012-13 and repeated in 2013-14.


UFE Bargaining Team Chair Rebecca Sunderman and TESC President Les Purce sign the CBA

  • 2013 – Spring – UFE worked to organize faculty participation in the Student Support Services Staff Union job action – a one-day strike that took place on May 28. A core organizing team spent two weeks in meetings with the SSSSU Strike Committee, conducted phone banks, and got commitments from over 60 faculty to join the picket line. More than 65 faculty showed up to walk the picket line and to stand in solidarity with their staff colleagues to get a fair and timely contract. A central issue was just cause protections for discipline and discharge.

  • UFE goals were published in our first newsletter: The purpose of the UFE is to represent all eligible faculty members in bargaining, grievances, and in all matters relating to terms and conditions of employment with The Evergreen State College, to protect and enhance Evergreen’s unique traditions that have earned it prominence among the nation’s public colleges and liberal arts colleges, to encourage mutual understanding and cooperation among union members, to engage in legislative, political, civic, welfare and other actions which further the interests of the membership, public education and the labor movement; and to bring about a world where justice and equality are a reality, not just empty words. The UFE is affiliated with United Faculty of Washington State, Washington Education Association, National Education Association, AFT Washington, American Federation of Teachers, the American Federation of Labor/Congress of Industrial Organizations and the Washington State Labor Council.

[1] This timeline is a work in progress; first draft compiled by Laurie Meeker for UFE Union School, Summer 2013.

[2] Connelly, Laurie; Younker, Rodney B. Esq.; Pagels, Gary; McNeil, Gary; and Jennings, Michael (2007) “Implementing Collective Bargaining “Enabling Legislation”: Washington Universities Join the Party,” Journal of Collective Bargaining in the Academy: Vol. 0, Article 28, page 3. Berkely Elecronic Press, 2012. Available at: http://thekeep.eiu.edu/jcba/vol0/iss2/28

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

[5] UFE Communiqué (newsletter), Vol.1, Issue 1, April 7, 2008: 1. Print.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Actually, the first CBA remained in effect until the second contract was ratified and went into effect June 14, 2012 – August 31, 2014. Negotiations on the second contract (successor agreement) dragged on for over fourteen months (Feb. 2011 through June 2012) and the first contract remained in effect even though the expiration date was August 2011).

[8] UFE Communiqué (newsletter), Special Edition, Oct. 27, 2008: 3. Print.

[9] UFE Communiqué (newsletter), Vol.2, Issue 3, April 8, 2009: 1. Print.

[10] UFE Communiqué (newsletter), Vol. 2, Issue 4, June 8, 2009: 3-4. Print.

[11] UFE Communiqué (newsletter), Vol. 4, Issue 1, Sept. 15, 2010: 4. Print.

[12] UFE Digest of Highlights/Changes in 2012-2014 Collective Bargaining Agreement is available on the UFE webpage: https://www.ufevergreen.org/wpcontent/uploads/2012/06/DigestCBA2rev.doc.pdf