After 17 months of negotiations and a one-day strike, members of the Student Support Services Staff Union at The Evergreen State College on Wednesday (June 12) ratified their contract on a vote of 52-2.
This first-ever collective bargaining agreement takes effect July 1 and runs through June 30, 2015.
It includes a fair compensation package and “just cause” due process rights for disciplines.
It includes other important rights, including a union-management committee and a three-step grievance process that includes binding arbitration through a neutral third party, the American Arbitration Association.
On compensation, these Evergreen workers (who have never gotten step increases) will start to catch up with across-the-board increases totaling 4 percent: 3 percent on July 1, 2013 and 1 percent on July 1, 2014. They’ll also start getting step increases of 1 percent on the first day of the month in which the employee’s date of permanent/project hire occurs, once the employee has been employed for 12 months or more. Also, effective July 1, 2013, each employee will receive a one-time bonus payment equal to 1 percent of the employee’s annual salary.
[On discipline, all discipline will be for “just cause.” Included are provisions that grievances for oral reprimands, written reprimands and suspensions of seven calendar days or less can be processed to the Step 2 of the grievance process. Grievances for terminations and suspensions greater than seven calendar days can be processed through Step 2, too, but if not resolved, can be appealed to a new Discipline Review Panel. That panel will be made up of five exempt employees – two selected by the union, two selected by the vice president for Student Affairs and the fifth selected from a list of current faculty who have previously held the position of dean at Evergreen. The panel’s decisions are final and binding.]
This is a great victory for union solidarity and is a solid foundation to build on in future contracts. Congratulations to all who made this possible!