“A Year of Bargaining”: Evergreen team chronicles contract fight at critical stage

A Year of Bargaining from TESC SSSSU on Vimeo.

From left: Bargaining team members Courtney Bailey, Reaz Mahmood, Justin Reuter and Jean Eberhardt.

From left: Bargaining team members Courtney Bailey, Reaz Mahmood, Justin Reuter and Jean Eberhardt.tesc x2tescx3

The Federation Bargaining Team for The Evergreen State College Student Services Support Staff Union has produced a video that chronicles their yearlong fight for a contract.

The video has come at a critical time as they fight for the last major outstanding issues – two of which are Just Cause and compensation.

“It just tells people our story and potentially starts up conversations that otherwise would never have happened,” said Reaz Mahmood, a student publications advisor who filmed the video.

It was a months-long project that involved the rest of the bargaining team and several bargaining unit members.

They recently screened it to a campus audience. The reaction:

“They were overwhelmingly in support of our cause,” said Justin Reuter, a resident director.

“We got a lot of people asking, ‘What can we do to help?,’” said Courtney Bailey, a senior advisor.

The video opens on a shot of the iconic Evergreen clock tower shrouded in fog: “Welcome to The Evergreen State College. A ‘progressive’ institution where workers’ rights and fair compensation have eluded the Student Support Services Staff Union.”

It goes on to highlight job actions over the past year and carefully explains the compensation and Just Cause issues.

On compensation, the video shows how top managers would get more. The effect: the average bargaining unit salary of $37,000 a year would equal the overall state average – if this were 1992!

Reads another slide: “Just Cause is a basic workers’ right, the existence of due process to prevent arbitrary or discriminatory termination.”

“We preach to our students to respect each other and to create an inclusive environment,” Arvin Mosely, the men’s basketball coach and interim volleyball coach, said on the video.

“At times during negotiations, we don’t have that good faith coming from the management team it doesn’t feel like.”

UPDATE: 5/9/13

TESC SSSSU team members and other union members address TESC board of trustees.

The team has been bargaining for a contract for now a year with little progress. A strike may be in their future.


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