By Mikaela Stine, Evergreen USAS
Here at Evergreen State College in Washington state, United Students Against Sweatshops has relationships with all of our campus unions, including the classified staff union, who are members of the Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE/AFSCME), the United Faculty of Evergreen (AFT/NEA), and the Aramark food service workers’ union (ILWU Local 5).
Recently, Evergreen employees who work as student support staff — such as workers in academic advising, admissions, residence life, student activities, athletics, financial aid, registration, and the counseling center — formed a union, joining the Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE).
Evergreen USAS members heard about the student support staff’s working conditions on campus, and their fight with Evergreen’s administration for a fair first collective bargaining agreement. The WFSE members first organized a union over a year ago, and have been in bargaining for over 6 months. As of yet, the union employees have not won the basic labor right of due process, known as “just cause”.
On Tuesday, October 9th, USAS members decided to show our support for campus worker rights by going to the office of Art Costantino, Evergreen’s Vice President for Student Affairs. We expressed our broad support for campus worker rights to Vice President Costantino, and highlighted how WFSE student support staff are the only union employees at Evergreen currently without just cause or basic due process rights.
Evergreen USAS is committed to educating our fellow classmates about the importance of supporting worker rights, and are eager to hold future events publicizing the working conditions of WFSE student support staff on campus.
Never forget: when we fight, we win!