The recent full-page ad “Return to Evergreen?” funded by the Washington Federation of State Employees resulted in cancellation of a long-planned event for the college to celebrate its alumni. The staff union hijacked this event to serve its own interests. This was a huge mistake.
Alumni are in a position to help the college continue to provide a quality education in the face of drastic cuts to state funding. Donations from alumni support a wide range of special projects and scholarships, which then create flexibility in a tight budget. By sabotaging this event, the staff union sabotaged itself.
As an alumna, former staff member and current faculty member, I am deeply disappointed in this tactic. Like many other Evergreen folks, I honored the picket line. The staff union should ask itself if there are lines that it, too, should not cross.
In this case, the staff union failed to consider the possibility that it, too, could betray important values. They crossed a line with moral weight akin to that of a picket line. If the union leadership wants its demands to be credible, it must rethink its strategy and make judgments more sound than the ones that resulted in the cancellation of this event.