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UPDATE: Evergreen student-support workers ratify first-ever contract; includes grievance process, 1 percent pay bonus on July 1

Post by Brad Shannon / The Olympian on June 12, 2013 at 6:57 pm | No Comments »
June 14, 2013 9:16 am
A strike by Evergreen's student-support services workers on May 27 left the campus Red Square vacant (Steve Bloom/staff photo)
A strike by Evergreen’s student-support services workers on May 27 left the campus Red Square vacant (Steve Bloom/staff photo)

UPDATE: The Evergreen State College has clarified details of the contract and issued a statement from college president Les Purce.

ORIGINAL June 12 POST: Members of a new labor union at The Evergreen State College ratified their first-ever contract Wednesday on a 52-2 vote, according to the Washington Federation of State Employees. The federation is the umbrella organization for the more than 55-member Evergreen Student Support Services Staff Union, which went on strike for one day last month after failing to strike a deal after 17 months. 

The federation put out a statement to its members that said the contract takes effect July 1 and runs two years for the new union representing academic and financial aid counselors, residence supervisors, and athletic coaches. The agreement includes a 3 percent pay raise on July 1 and another 1 percent raise on July 1, 2014, and it also includes a step pay increase once a worker has been on the job 12 months. [Note: TESC says the step comes after 12 months' service.]

Workers also are getting a one-time 1 percent bonus payment on July 1.

Evergreen’s media office did not post or distribute a statement.

A key issue in the dispute with the liberal-arts college near Olympia was the process the college would use for terminations and disciplinary actions. Workers said they wanted a clear “just cause” provision and their agreement includes creation of a union-management committee, a three-step grievance process, and binding arbitration for contract disputes using the American Arbitration Association, according to the union. [The college clarified that the binding outside arbitration is only for grievances related to administration of the contract, while disciplinary actions including firings are done internally through a Discipline Review Panel.]

Our previous blog post was here.

UPDATE:  Here is a statement Purce later issued to the college community:

“Everyone involved has worked hard to reach this agreement.  I appreciate that extraordinary effort. The challenges faced in reaching this agreement highlight the critical importance of general fund support from the legislature for higher education.  The economic, social and cultural vitality of the state is driven by an educated citizenry.  To have its greatest impact, that investment in education must extend beyond K-12 to include higher education, and in doing so preserve access for Washington students and stabilize the workforce of public employees that serves those students.”

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