Contract Ratification Vote Results

The voting period for the contract ratification has ended, and the Election Committee has tabulated and certified the results. The results are:

Yes: 2120
No: 36

98% voted in favor of ratifying the proposed contract.

In solidarity,

UAW 4121 Election Committee

Monica Cortes Viharo
Dharma Dailey
Patrick Lenning
John Lurie
Nathaniel McVicar

Tentative Agreement Reached and Strike Averted!

May 5, 6:36pm PDT

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On April 30, just a few hours before our contract expired and after achieving some incredible, hard-fought victories, members assembled at our Condon Hall action were asked for feedback. Based on their positive response, we signed a tentative agreement with the University, which will become the contract if members vote to ratify it.

The bargaining committee has put together a summary of the tentative agreement. You can find that summary here.

The bargaining committee will also be holding information sessions for members who want to learn more about the tentative agreement. They will be:

  • Wednesday (5/6) –
    10-11am – Chemistry Building 439
    5:30-6:30 – Comm 126
  • Thursday (5/7) –
    1-2pm – Comm 126
    5:30-6:30pm – South Lake Union E130 A
  • Monday (5/11) –
    4:30-5:30pm – Foege 110

If you’d like to hold your own department meeting, please email bargaining@uaw4121.org and a bargaining committee member will come to your meeting.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to email the bargaining committee at: bargaining@uaw4121.org.

 

Tentative Agreement

May 01, 6:14pm PDT

You can find the text of the tentative agreement with the University here.

Contract Ratification Vote

May 01, 4:32pm PDT

The bargaining committee has reached an agreement with the University on a new contract. Full details of the new contract will be made available shortly. Members will have the opportunity to vote on ratifying the new contract May 7 through May 14, either online or in person.

Online Voting

Members will receive a unique link to an online ballot via email at 9:00 am on May 7. Please make sure that elections@uaw4121.org is in your accepted senders list, and look for “UAW4121CRV – Link to online ballot” in the subject line. If you do not receive an email link by 9:30 am on May 7, you can request one here. The online voting system will close at 11:00 pm PDT on May 14.

In-person Voting
A polling station will be open in the Mary Gates Hall Commons during the following times:

– 5/7: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
– 5/8:  3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
– 5/11:  12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
– 5/12:  3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
– 5/13:  12:00 pm – 2:00 pm

A polling station will also be open from 4:15 – 6:00 pm on Thursday 5/14 at Bagley 154 (the site of the union’s membership meeting).

In solidarity,

UAW Local 4121 Election Committee
Monica Cortes Viharo

Dharma Dailey

Patrick Lenning

John Lurie

Nathaniel McVicar

 

Tentative Agreement Reached and Strike Averted!

April 30, 10:46pm PDT

 

Today was a momentous day in bargaining. After achieving some incredible, hard-fought victories, members assembled at our Condon Hall action were asked for feedback. Based on their positive response, we signed a tentative agreement with the University, which will become the contract if members vote to ratify it.

 

Some highlights of this proposed contract:
  • Waiver of the Building Fee – and thus the entirety of tuition – for the first time ever.  This fee is currently $152 per quarter (more for some programs) and is projected to steadily increase over the next three years, but our tentative contract waives this fee in its entirety.
  • Certain student-approved fees (SFR and U-Pass) will become required fees for all ASEs, however the University agreed to a lump sum $150 payment to 50% ASEs in 2015 which will offset this.
  • Overall, out-of-pocket fees will be reduced by 19% (or more, depending on program) for most 50% FTE ASEs.
  • Another victory on the path to $15 an hour: Hourly ASE wages in every work location (not just Seattle) will increase to a minimum of $12.50 on January 1, followed by a minimum 2% increase on July 1st, 2016 (nearly 20% compared to pre-April 1 minimum rate).  We expect and will continue to fight for the minimum to increase to $15 by January 1, 2017.
  • Building on prior victories, for Graduate Student Service Appointments wages will increase 24% compounded over the next three years in base rate departments. We expect this will also drive increases above the minimum 6% in variable pay departments.
  • Health care benefits are locked in for 3 years, with $0 premiums, and the University has agreed to significant increases to transparency and accountability, including a process for considering another insurance company.
  • Childcare subsidies will increase by $200/quarter.
  • The University will build/re-purpose 26 all-gender bathrooms and provide adequate access to all-gender bathrooms for all ASEs.
  • The University will provide and publicize private, clean lactation facilities, and provide adequate break time.
  • ASEs can pursue grievances and the Union and University can jointly create trainings with the goal of eliminating microaggressions on campus.
  • Having a 3 year contract duration maximizes the number of rank-and-file members who have the opportunity to participate in the democratic bargaining process while they’re at UW.
We sincerely appreciate your support, mobilization, passion, and tenacity in helping us get to this exciting moment. All of your work in turning out for actions, voting yes to authorize a strike, and communicating your interests and priorities has shaped the process and has shown the University that you would accept nothing less than a fair, inclusive, and equitable contract for all ASEs.

 

Ratification Vote
Soon we will provide full details of the tentative agreement for your review.  Then you will have the opportunity to vote to ratify this historic contract.
Please let us know if you have any initial questions.

 

Friday Rally and Petition to Support UW Custodians (WFSE Local 1488)

Many of you may know or at least recognize UW custodian Salvador Castillo, who has tirelessly advocated for workers at UW. The University is threatening to fire Salvador–and this is especially grotesque given UW’s ongoing understaffing of custodial positions.
In support of Salvador and the UW custodians (represented by WFSE Local 1488), there is another petition (please sign and circulate!) and a rally to deliver the petition signatures (Friday, 5/1, 10:45 in front of Gerberding in Red Square).

You can contact the bargaining committee at bargaining@uaw4121.org.

Bargaining Update for 4/29/2015

The bargaining committee and University representatives continued to meet today, and exchanged proposals and comprehensive packages. We’re quite close to agreement on Insurance Programs, Non-Discrimination and Harassment (including microaggressions, lactation stations, and all gender bathrooms), and Childcare, all of which would provide significant victories for our members. The University made incremental progress towards resolving Tuition & Fee Waivers as well as Wages, but we need membership pressure to ensure a strong and equitable outcome in these areas. Please join us at Condon Hall tomorrow at 4pm to demand that the University agree to a fair contract.

Bargaining Update for 4/28/2015

In Tuesday’s (25th day of bargaining) day-long bargaining session with UW, our bargaining committee continued to discuss and exchange proposals related to several elements of our bargaining agenda, most notably on the final portions of health insurance and on non-discrimination. We responded with a counterproposal on non-discrimination to secure more concrete language around provisions from the University regarding lactation facilities, all gender bathrooms, and microaggressions. We also passed follow-up proposals to UW on Job Titles and Classifications (to ensure greater clarity around pay rates and policies for hourly ASEs) as well as on paid sick Leaves.

The following items remain open and undecided:
Wages, Tuition/Fees, Childcare, Job Titles and Classifications, Leaves, Non-Discrimination, Health Insurance, Intellectual Property.

Bargaining Update for 4/27/2015

During our meeting with UW on April 27th, our bargaining committee continued to primarily discuss health insurance. As proposed in our last session with the university, a subgroup of bargaining committee members met with UW and a representative from the University’s insurance broker to jointly review responses to our Request for Proposals (RFP) from insurers. After this review, the bargaining committee and UW were nearly able to reach agreement on a set of medical, dental, and vision benefits for the 2016-2017 plan year. We also are close to agreeing upon contract language that establishes a process for future RFPs, as well as language that greatly increases our oversight of the plan—and by extension, greatly increases our ability to hold UW, the broker, and the insurer accountable.

We continued to discuss issues related to non-discrimination and fighting institutional oppression, including access to lactation stations, all gender bathrooms, and fighting microagressions.  We also passed a counterproposal on Job Titles and Classifications to UW.

Our next bargaining session will take place tomorrow (Tuesday, 4/28), and will begin at 9:00 a.m. in Condon 311. All members are encouraged to attend.

Bargaining Update for 4/24/2015

This meeting was wholly focused on health insurance, and the question of which benefits the parties could agree were part of the current GAIP under the collective bargaining agreement. This question was created by the numerous unilateral changes made to the GAIP early in the academic year as well as changes in applicable laws, and needs to be resolved in order for us to evaluate benefits and costs associated with any alternate plans to the current GAIP (commissioned through the Request for Proposal that was sent out a few weeks ago).

UW also told us Friday that they had just received responses to the Request for Proposals (RFP) for alternatives to the current GAIP. Naturally we demanded to see these responses so we could begin to prepare a response; UW told us they would provide them well in advance of our next meeting on Monday. We also agreed with UW that a sub-group from both sides would continue to focus on health insurance issues so that we wouldn’t have to wait on negotiating over the numerous outstanding issues that still remain.

Our next bargaining session will take place beginning at 10:00 a.m. in Condon 311 on Monday April 27th. The health insurance subgroup will meet at 9:00 a.m. All members are encouraged to attend.

Bargaining Update for 4/23/2015

During our second day of mediated bargaining, on April 23, our bargaining committee continued to exchange proposals with the University over a variety of demands.

The committee passed counter proposals related to Childcare, Intellectual Property, Job Titles and Classifications, and Non-Discrimination–which now includes lactation stations, micro-aggressions, and bathroom equity. The University accepted our definition of micro-aggressions and included it in their proposal, while we pushed the University to provide online, publicly available information on job titles and classifications, lactation station locations, and all-gender bathroom locations.

The University seems to continue to move at a glacial pace in responding to our various proposals, while we turn around counters within a half hour of receiving their proposals. However, though some progress is being made on health insurance, more work needs to be done. After waiting while the University sat behind closed doors in conference calls with the broker and vendors, we demanded to be part of the discussions and they capitulated.  Among other things we learned of at least one additional benefit that had been changed years ago without negotiation or notice.  A number of outstanding issues remain in finalizing the benefit design of the current GAIP, so we agreed to meet again Friday (4/24) at 12:30 p.m.  All members are encouraged to attend!

The following aspects of our bargaining agenda are still outstanding:

wages, fees, health benefits, intellectual property, non-discrimination, titles and classifications, child care, leaves of absence, management rights, no strikes, union security, duration, immigration status and work authorization, career development, and bathroom equity.

 

 

Bargaining Update for 4/22/2015

Today a mediator from the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) came to negotiations at the request of the University.  The mediator asked to talk about two key issues:

Fees.  The University continued to hold to its position that a) the fees that they waived in 2012 pursuant to the Arbitrator’s decision would now be charged to ASEs; b) any new fees could be imposed in the future without negotiation.  They also asserted that fees that had been voted on by students should not be waived; however this flies in the face of their long-standing practice (Tech Fee and International Student Fee were both voted on by students while the Building Fee was not).  We also pointed out that UW is the only school in the Global Challenge States that does not waive tuition in its entirety (both the Operating and the Building Fee) – keeping us out of pace with peers and decreasing competitiveness.

Health Care.  We re-described the problems members have had this year with benefits cuts and the problems we’ve had getting full, timely, accurate information from UW.  In particular we focused on how the University stalled sending a Request for Proposal to determine whether different plans could provide better benefits to ASEs at lower costs, and communicated that we have real concerns about this timing and the prospect that it would create problems with the April 30th contract expiration.  UW reiterated that they have reversed their position to impose a cap on benefits to accommodate cost overruns.

The mediator also asked that we send UW a summary of our bargaining demands to set the stage for the next few days in bargaining.  She also asked that next week’s sessions be scheduled for full days, to which we replied affirmatively.

Our next bargaining session is tomorrowThursday April 23rd from noon to four o’clock in Condon 311. All members are encouraged to attend.

Bargaining Update for 4/16/2015

During our meeting on April 16, our bargaining committee made proposals on all outstanding aspects of our bargaining agenda.

The committee made proposals on wages, fees, health benefits, intellectual property, non-discrimination, titles and classifications, child care, leaves of absence, management rights, no strikes, union security, duration, immigration status and work authorization, career development, and bathroom equity.

Chastened by our committee’s reaction to the UW health care proposal from April 15, the University reversed course completely and agreed to continue our benefits un-reduced for the next three years with no threat of reduction.

The following aspects of our bargaining agenda are still outstanding: wages, fees, health benefits, intellectual property, non-discrimination, titles and classifications, child care, leaves of absence, management rights, no strikes, union security, duration, immigration status and work authorization, career development, and bathroom equity.

Our next bargaining session will take place Wednesday April 22, at 12 PM in Condon 311.  All members are encouraged to attend!  For a full list of bargaining dates and times please click see the union’s website or the union’s calendar.

Bargaining Update for 4/15/2015

During our meeting on April 15, 2015, our bargaining committee fought with UW administrators over their proposal to cut our health care benefits.  Our committee pointed out that UW proposed to codify in the contract their own unlawful conduct in making unilateral changes to GAIP last spring, and informed UW Administrators that union members would revolt if they persisted with their proposal.

The committee passed a proposal in response to the University’s intellectual property proposal.  This included having someone from the union appointed to university committees dealing with issues of intellectual property that affect us. Unfortunately, the University offered little in response beyond promises to engage these items further at a later meeting.

The following aspects of our bargaining agenda are still outstanding: wages, fees, health benefits, intellectual property, non-discrimination, titles and classifications, child care, leaves of absence, management rights, no strikes, union security, duration, immigration status and work authorization, career development, and bathroom equity.

Our next bargaining session will take place April 16th, at 12 PM in Condon 311.  All members are encouraged to attend!  For a full list of bargaining dates and times please click see the union’s website or the union’s calendar.

Bargaining Update for 4/9/2015

 During our meeting on Thursday April 9, our bargaining committee continued to discuss the economic and non-economic aspects of our bargaining agenda.

The committee and the University came to tentative agreement on (Re)Appointment Notification & Job Description, Discipline or Dismissal, Workload, as well as Workspace & Materials polices. These tentative agreements represent significant wins that expand ASE access to information about their job duties, strengthen ASE protection against arbitrary dismissal, increase means in the contract for ASEs to preserve and expand academic excellence, and cement access to research equipment for ASE appointments.

Unfortunately, the University continued to offer nothing in response to our proposals on Micro-Aggressions and Bathroom Equity, and today’s session reiterated the fact that the University will require significant pressure to move forward on these key issues for gender and social equity.

The University passed proposals on Intellectual Property, Wages, Fees & Tuition Waivers, as well as potential future compliance to the Seattle minimum wage ordinance.  The University steadfastly reiterated their proposal about mandatory fees, which constitute a de facto pay cut, and refused to raise ASE wages to make UW a leader among peer institutions.  The University was also unable to present a proposal on Insurance. The University said they would address our proposals on Child Care, Debt Management, Leaves of Absence, as well as Job Titles & Classification with their economic package, but we are still awaiting those responses. The economic package represents an unfortunate setback in our negotiations with the University.

Our next bargaining session will take place Wednesday April 15th from 12-4pm in Condon 311.  All members are encouraged to attend! For a full list of bargaining dates and times please click see the union’s website or the union’s calendar.

 

 During our meeting with the University on Wednesday April 8, our bargaining committee continued to discuss the non-economic aspects of our bargaining agenda.

The committee presented proposals on Appointment and Reappointment Notification & Job Description, Childcare, Discipline or Dismissal, as well as Grievance Procedure.  The University responded positively to our proposals on several topics, but seemed unmoved by our efforts to increase gender equity in the academy by expanding childcare subsidies.  Additionally, today’s session made it clear that the University will require significant pressure to move forward on our proposal to take on issues of institutional oppression and exclusion by incorporating language that would provide ways of grieving microaggressions.

In addition to exchanging proposals on Appointment and Reappointment Notification & Job Description, Discipline or Dismissal, and Grievance Procedure, the University presented proposals on Workload and Workspace & Materials. These represented small but significant steps forward in our negotiations with the University.

The following aspects of our bargaining agenda are still outstanding: Appointment Notification, Childcare, Discipline or Dismissal, Tuition and Fee Waivers, Grievance, Intellectual Property, Insurance/GAIP, Job Titles, Leaves of Absence, Workspace & Materials, Workload, Academic Excellence, Bathroom Equity, Debt Management, and others.

Our next bargaining session will take place Thursday from 12-4pm in Condon 311. All members are encouraged to attend!  For a full list of bargaining dates and times please click see the union’s website or the union’s calendar.

 

4/3/2015 – Weeks of Action

Today, upon hearing of this week’s news that UW is not only refusing to increase wages for the lowest paid student workers on campus but also proposing to increase out-of-pocket fee costs for Academic Student Employees with waivers, UAW members have sent a clear message: we’re ready to escalate until UW commits to fair wages and a fair contract.

So…
Next week, members are preparing to create micro-disruptions on campus to increase pressure around our demand to prevent micro-agressions.  RSVP on Facebook or let us know if you’d like to help.
The week of April 13th members are preparing disruptions of a more macro kind.
    • Beginning that week (date tbd), the bargaining team has decided to ask members to vote to authorize a strike if circumstances warrant.  A 2/3 majority of voters is necessary to authorize the bargaining committee to call for a strike. RSVP on Facebook or let us know if you’d like to help.
    • On Wednesday, April 15th, we’ll participate in a national day of action to support raising the minimum wage and respect the right of low-wage, contingent workers to organize unions.
    • On Thursday, April 16th at 4:30 p.m. we’ll have our monthly membership meeting, to evaluate our status and plan next steps
    • On Friday, April 17th (tuition/fee deadline), we’ll pack Schmitz Hall to make our point that, for student workers, increased fees and low wages is utterly unacceptable.  RSVP on Facebook or let us know if you’d like to help.
Please stay tuned for information about this and other actions.  As always let us know if you want to get more involved or if we can answer any questions.
In solidarity,
UAW Local 4121 Bargaining Committee

 

Today our bargaining committee passed a counter to the University’s proposal to change Article 6 (Discipline or Dismissal) and proposals related to our bargaining demand of improving Academic Excellence (contained in Workload, Workspace/Materials and Training).  UW agreed to our proposal to reach Tentative Agreement on Article 25 (Training), which leaves the existing language unchanged.  The University gave us a counter proposal on Article 4 (Appointment Notification), as well as Article 5 (Childcare), and stated that they maintain their last proposal on the Grievance Procedure.  While they did not pass a counter to our Leaves proposal they made the absurd statement that it could cost $43 million per year.

During our discussion about Non-Discrimination UW continued to show little willingness to agree to our proposal to take on issues of institutional oppression and exclusion by incorporating language that would provide ways of grieving microaggressions.

As for economic topics, UW today proposed a cut in tuition waivers, that would represent at least $160 per quarter increase in mandatory fees.  Specifically they proposed that the SFR and UPass Fees will become mandatory for ASEs with waivers.

We stated categorically that this represents a significant take away to current terms of the agreement, that would result in ASEs taking a loss in pay, and that members had overwhelmingly cited fee waivers as among the most significant aspects of their compensation package.  We also reiterated that the arbitrator had already ruled that imposing these fees in 2012 was a violation of the contract.

Last we continued to press UW to respond to our outstanding information requests and the status of the RFP for alternatives to the GAIP Plan.  Again UW had no information forthcoming on this topic.

Our next bargaining session will take place Wednesday, April 9, at 12:00 noon  in Condon 311.  All members are encouraged to attend!

For a full list of bargaining dates and times please click see the union’s website or the union’s calendar.

 

Wednesday was a momentous day for Seattle’s workers as the first phase of the minimum wage increase was enacted.  While workers city-wide celebrated the increase and Seattle again took the national spotlight, UAW 4121 continued our efforts to ensure that every worker city-wide experiences the increase. On campus we took action with other workers and students to demand UW fully comply with the law.  We then – amidst cheers and shouts from the gathered crowd – marched into bargaining to present our demand that all workers on campus be paid at least $15/hour.

The University stated in bargaining that it is currently willing to raise the minimum hourly wage for ASEs to $11.00; however they did not commit to raise the minimum for all hourly student workers.  We also proposed an increase to the graduate base rate to win the salary competition among the Global Challenge Institutions, as well as commensurate percentage increases for variable rates and hourly rates above the minimum.  In addition we proposed a full waiver of campus-wide fees for all ASEs.  We impressed that these proposals were designed to ease costs of living increases and ensure that UW would be better positioned to recruit the best and brightest to come here.
Finally we presented our demand to improve the health plan, including benefit improvements and an overhaul to the administration of the plan that makes it more transparent to members and ensures the Union can play a more central role as advocates.
We impressed upon the University the urgent need for responses on all of our proposals as the contract expires in 30 days. We let the University know that the pressure will not let up until our contract is settled fairly.
Our next bargaining session is today, from 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m. in Condon 311.  Join us!

During our meeting on Wednesday, March 25th, our bargaining committee continued to negotiate the non-economic aspects of our bargaining agenda with the University. We presented the University with a counterproposal related to childcare, and again insisted that the University meet the demands and needs of all members for whom this is an immediate concern. We also discussed several other aspects of our agenda with the University; however, the University continues to show little interest in promoting inclusivity, equity, and excellence at UW, and we have seen little meaningful progress in our negotiations. More specifically, the University’s unwillingness to seriously negotiate was evident in three areas:

  1. The University passed a weak and half-hearted series of counterproposals on several issues, including workload, training, nondiscrimination, our grievance procedure, and discipline and dismissal policies. Unfortunately, these counterproposals continue the deeply disappointing pattern of previous sessions, and none represented a real step forward in our negotiations.
  2. In a similar vein, the University continued to equivocate and express significant reluctance to engage in any kind of meaningful, proactive discussion around our issues of institutional oppression, including our proposal on microaggressions, despite expressing only a few sessions ago that they wanted to continue these discussions. The University also continued to express resistance to our proposals on lactation stations.
  3. Finally, the University unilaterally canceled bargaining for the following day, Thursday, March 26. This is the second time that the University has avoided meeting with us.

This prolonged lack of serious engagement from the University is disappointing. It has also made it increasingly clear that the University will be unwilling to resolve issues related to microaggressions and the lack of lactation stations without additional pressure from beyond the bargaining table. New actions, building on our last action at the Dean’s office, will be necessary to demonstrate to the University that they cannot continue to ignore discriminatory practices in our workplaces. We welcome any and all suggestions and recommendations as to the nature of these actions. Currently, we are considering “Micro-disruptions Against Micro-aggressions” in the form of emails, faxes, telephone calls to strategic members of the University’s administration that demonstrate in a real, tangible way how disruptive discrimination is to an individual’s life, work, and academic study. (Have an idea to share? Email uaw4121@uaw4121.org.)

The following aspects of our bargaining agenda are still outstanding: Appointment Notification, Childcare, Grievance, Intellectual Property, Insurance/GAIP, Job Titles, Leaves of Absence, Workspace Materials, Training, Workload, Academic Excellence, Bathroom Equity, Debt Management, Faith or Conscience, International Student Fee, Voting, and others. Because of this, a section of the bargaining committee met on Thursday–during the time that we would have been bargaining with the University had they not canceled–and we drafted language for counters to the proposals we had been given on Wednesday. Our goal is to wrap up as much of the non-economic demands as soon as possible as we will be moving on to economic demands very soon.

Our next bargaining session will take place Wednesday, April 1, following the Reclaim UW action, at 12pm  in Condon 311. All members are encouraged to attend!  For a full list of bargaining dates and times please click see the union’s website or the union’s calendar.

 

During our meeting on Thursday, March 19, our bargaining committee continued to discuss the non-economic aspects of our bargaining agenda. We began by discussing our “work-in” action that took place in the Dean’s office of the College of Arts and Sciences earlier in the morning, and we stressed the importance of academic student employee instructional labor to the University: Each year, ASEs collectively spend 1.3 million hours doing instructional work. Quite simply, ASEs play a vital role in maintaining academic quality at UW.

In addition to discussions of our instructional labor and its relation to academic quality, we continued to press the University about the GAIP health plan and the RFP (request for proposals–i.e., our solicitation of proposals from other insurers besides Lifewise), especially in light of the recent alarming cybersecurity breach. We strongly urged the University to add language to the RFP that would require proposals to discuss their company’s current security protocols and how they would avoid such breaches in the future.

The Union and the University also signed a tentative agreement on Union Management. While this is a step forward, and adds to the areas of the contract that we have already tentatively agreed upon, it is unfortunately only a small step; we have submitted numerous other proposals to the university that continue to remain unanswered. More specifically, the following aspects of our bargaining agenda are still outstanding:

  • Appointment Notifications
  • Childcare
  • Discipline or Dismissal
  • Tuition/Fees
  • Intellectual Property
  • Insurance Programs
  • Job Titles
  • Leaves of Absence
  • Management Rights
  • No Strikes
  • Training
  • Union Security
  • Wages
  • Workload
  • Workspace Materials
  • Academic Excellence
  • Bathroom Equity
  • International Student Fee
  • Lactation
  • Micro-Aggression
  • Undocumented
  • Voting

Given the lack of meaningful response to our proposals, we pushed for specific dates by which we would hear on the outstanding aspects of our bargaining agenda. In response, the University promised to deliver counterproposals to us next week, and we can expect rather involved, hopefully productive conversations next Wednesday and Thursday. We continue to press them on this and all the other issues so that we can work toward resolution on these demands.

Our next bargaining session will take place on Wednesday, March 25, at noon in Condon 311. All members are encouraged to attend!  For a full list of bargaining dates and times please click see theunion’s website or the union’s calendar.

 

During our meeting on Wednesday, March 18, our bargaining committee continued to discuss the non-economic aspects of our bargaining agenda.

The committee passed proposals in response to University’s counterproposals related to Appointment Notification, Leaves of Absence, Academic Excellence, Micro-aggressions, Bathroom Equity, Discipline or Dismissal, and Union Management. This included lengthy discussions around crafting language that speaks to and supports an ASE’s right to due process when faced with administrative leave related to disciplinary action and the importance of notifying the Union at the same time as an ASE is notified of administrative leave. We stressed to the University the importance of regular communication and transparency during any investigation related to administrative leave.

Furthermore, the University requested that the Union participate in an Human Resources Administration Forum by giving a ten-minute presentation on Micro-aggressions. The Forum will be held at the UW Tower Auditorium on April 10, 10:30am – 12:00pm. And the University is continuing to investigate further details around 26 new gender-neutral bathrooms to be installed across campus.  The University and the Union came to tentative agreements on several proposals, including Health and Safety, Job Posting, Non-Discrimination, Parking and Transit, Union Rights, and more.

Unfortunately, for other items, including Appointment Notification, Childcare, Micro-aggressions, Intellectual Property, Debt Management, Academic Excellence, and Lactation Stations, the University offered little in response beyond promises to engage these items further at a later meeting. Today’s session made it clear that the University will require significant pressure to move forward on these items, notably on the RFP for healthcare, for which there has been no update, and on Micro-aggressions, as we were unable even to secure an agreement on language that states that ASEs have the right to not experience Micro-aggressions.

The University responded to our proposals with only a few changes of their own on the Grievance procedure, to which we will respond very soon. This is a very small step forward in our negotiations with the University. We also continued to press the University to respond to our outstanding information requests, particularly about the GAIP Health Plan. IMPORTANT! Related to healthcare, members should have received a notification by email about the hack on Premera and LifeWise. Be on the lookout for a letter from LifeWise with information about your account.

Finally, the University passed us a flash drive with several items related to our Request for Information; we will review those items and assess our situation regarding the information we need to draft our remaining proposals.

The following aspects of our bargaining agenda are still outstanding:

  • Appointment Notifications
  • Micro-Aggressions
  • Lactation Stations
  • Bathroom Equity
  • Childcare
  • Debt Management
  • Job Titles
  • Leaves of Absence
  • Discipline or Dismissal
  • RFP for Healthcare
  • Intellectual Property
  • Training
  • Union Security
  • Workspace Materials
  • Academic Excellence
  • Tuition/Fees
  • International Student Fee
  • Career
  • Faith or Conscience
  • Undocumented Students
  • Voting
  • Discipline or Dismissal
  • Union Management
  • New HR/Payroll System
  • Arbitration Pilot

Our next bargaining session will take place Thursday, March 19, at 12:00pm in Condon 311.

To demonstrate publicly the importance of the work ASEs do every day, we conducted an hour-long action (Thursday March 19) at 10:00am at the Communication Building. Over 40 ASEs sat in the office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences and graded and did work. At about the 35-minute mark, the dean met with us and heard our concerns and proposals but did not offer much in the way of information or support. We left after the planned one-hour action, chanting, “We’ll Be Back!”

All members are encouraged to attend!  For a full list of bargaining dates and times please click see theunion’s website or the union’s calendar.

 

Today the University brought presenters from different parts of campus to further the discussion about our bargaining proposals.  To begin, Cynthia Morales from GO-MAP discussed the resources for underrepresented grad populations at UW.  We discussed the need to improve resources for all underrepresented student communities, and in particular how writing/tutoring centers at all three UW campuses were key in this.

Next a panel of University representatives assembled to discuss our proposal on microaggressions.  This included representatives from Human Resources, the Ombuds Office, Safe Campus, and the Title 9 Office, in addition to representatives from Labor Relations.  Our two hour discussion with this panel included several components:

  • Stories of individual ASEs (identifying information redacted) who had experienced microaggressions, whether due to race, gender identity, sexual orientation, parental status, religion, ethnicity, or language.
  • Discussion of the need for policy language that makes the protection of ASEs unambiguous in the event that they file a grievance over microaggressions. This is especially important given that microaggressions do not always fall neatly into existing policy  definitions of harassment or discrimination.
  • Discussion of the need for training – including bystander training – that raises awareness of microaggressive behavior and explains how individuals can identify it and prevent it.
  • That enforcement of any protected right depends on creating a safe space for individuals to speak up, and that merely directing student employees to handle conflicts through conversations with supervisors or arms of the University administration does not sufficiently disrupt the power relationship in a way that promotes enforcement.
  • That the University has an interest in addressing and confronting this pattern of problems directly, in part because it needs to live up to its rhetoric of inclusion and equity, and in part because employees who are less productive as a result of feeling alienated cost the University money.

The University administrators present were both receptive and skeptical: They stated a commitment to an inclusive work environment while also articulating concern that this would not be an easy matter to solve in practical terms.  In response, we pointed out that the models for effective enforcement already exist elsewhere–including King County and the University of New Hampshire–and just need to be adopted to our context. We also reiterated our belief that the University of Washington should be a leader in this area.

The conversation ended with UW stating an interest in continuing to pursue this and bring other panelists to address this important concern.

Our next bargaining session will take place Wednesday, 3/18/15, from 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m. inCondon 311. All members are encouraged to attend!  For a full list of bargaining dates and times please click see the union’s website or the union’s calendar.

 

Today we continued to have discussions related to the non-economic portion of our bargaining agenda.  While UW has stated general agreement with our agenda to improve inclusivity, equity and excellence in higher education, we continue to see little meaningful progress.  After abruptly ending last week’s session and cancelling our subsequent scheduled meeting, today we saw a few responses.

  • To our proposal to strengthen protections and remedies for individuals experiencing microaggressions, the University has passed a proposal that states the goal of making progress on this issue and adopts a definition of Microaggressions.
  • To our proposal to provide access to all gender bathrooms, the University passed a proposal committing generally to ensuring access but doing so by commencing semi-annual discussions.
  • Regarding leaves of absence (Article 16) UW rejected our proposal to increase paid leaves so all ASEs get the same benefit as other employees, and said they thought this proposal would be too costly–although they were unable to provide even a rough estimate of what the actual cost would be.  However they did agree that ASEs are entitled under state law to 2 days of unpaid leave for reasons of faith or conscience.
  • UW also proposed some modifications to Article 6 (Discipline or Dismissal), clarifying the reasons for which ASEs may be subject to discipline/dismissal, as well as some of the timelines.
  • Finally UW proposed that we sign an updated memorandum of understanding (MOU) about the payroll modernization process.  This MOU removed the reference to a biweekly payroll system, as the UW has abandoned this direction due to their inability to resolve problems with this system for faculty, ASEs, and others whose work assignment tracks the academic calendar.

While this represented more movement from UW than we saw last week, there remain numerous outstanding proposals.

  • UW has not substantively responded to our proposal to send an RFP to possible insurance carriers, so we can get a more complete picture of the alternatives to the current GAIP.
  • UW has also not responded to our comprehensive set of proposals on Academic Excellence, including our push to increase transparency of job descriptions, appointment and re-appointment criteria, and provide better training.
  • UW today did state that they are receiving information from other parts of the University about the international student fee and access to lactation facilities, but did not have meaningful counters to these proposals.

Again UW left early–and rather abruptly–after passing their proposals, saying that they still needed more time to respond to our other proposals .  Our session ended at about 2:30.

Our next bargaining session will take place Thursday, March 12th in Condon 311.  UW plans to make a presentation on microaggressions starting at 2:00 p.m.  All members are encouraged to attend!  For a full list of bargaining dates and times please click see the union’s website or the union’s calendar.

 

There are both positives and negatives to report: during bargaining today our committee continued to discuss the non-economic aspects of our bargaining agenda and the university tentatively agreed to our proposal clarifying that members are protected from discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression, but had very little else in the way of substantive responses to our 17 other proposals. Today marked the 88th day since we commenced negotiations, and we continue to have received very little substantive response from UW: for example, they have only made 2 counter proposals over eight sessions to our 18 proposals.  Moreover UW cancelled tomorrow’s scheduled session due to their stated lack of response to any of our proposals.

In addition to making a proposal to include gender identity and expression in Article 19 (Non-Discrimination and Harassment) we also proposed modifications to Article 14 (Job Titles and Classifications) that are meant to ensure greater parity in wages between hourly ASEs and ASEs with %FTE appointments.  The University responded that they were not familiar with the history of how hourly appointments had been treated so differently historically.

UW also countered our Childcare proposal, proposing that since the Tender Loving Care program at Virginia Mason Hospital has been discontinued, ASEs will be able to avail themselves of any future program UW replaces it with.

Last we passed UW a new draft of a RFP (Request for Proposal) to gather responses and information from other insurance carriers about how health benefits can be provided at the lowest possible cost without sacrificing quality.  This followed several weeks of silence from the University about what they thought should be included in such a Proposal; in order to keep the process moving we drafted our own RFP to ascertain what alternatives might exist to the current GAIP and how we could ensure that any future contracts with carriers be made far more transparent to the union.  In passing this proposal we also reiterated our demand to bargain over the identity of the carrier and the broker, any refunds the University receives from the carrier, the fees or commissions paid to any broker, and the settlement money UW received from their previous broker.  UW said they would work to finalize this RFP and send it out as soon as possible.

Our next bargaining session will take place Wednesday, March 11 at 12:00 noon in Condon 311.  All members are encouraged to attend!  For a full list of bargaining dates and times please click see the union’s website or the union’s calendar.

 

This week our bargaining committee continued to discuss non-economic aspects of our bargaining agenda.

 On Wednesday the University brought Amy Hawkins to the bargaining table to discuss campus childcare needs and to provide more information in response to the union’s proposal to allow ASEs to participate in the campus CareLink program. These presentations were informative, however the University has not provided a substantive response to our proposal at this time.

 On Thursday dozens of members attend bargaining to pressure the University to eliminate the International Student Fee.  Multiple participants spoke about how the fee affects the campus climate, signals a non-inclusive atmosphere, and unfairly target one subset of the student population to raise revenue.  We also asked the University to account for how they could oppose a similar measure when it was introduced in Olympia and then weeks later support this fee.  UW representatives at the table could not answer but stated they would attempt to learn more.

 Also Thursday we passed a response to the University’s counter-proposal related to the grievance procedure.  Our goal is to modify the procedure so that members can much more quickly receive responses and remedies when their rights under the cba have been violated. The University agreed that the process should be more expeditious and showed willingness to work out a system that would enable this

 We also made a proposal to ensure that members’ rights to take leave for reasons of faith or conscience – as provided by law – was enshrined in our cba.  The University again responded positively that they intended to reach agreement with us over this issue.

 Last we continued to press the University to respond to our outstanding information requests, particularly about the GAIP Health Plan.  The University has not yet provided sufficient information for us to fully understand the reasons for the benefits changes or the next steps in the process.

 Our next bargaining session will take place Wednesday and Thursday (March 4th and 5th) in Condon 311. All members are encouraged to attend!  For a full list of bargaining dates and times please click see the union’s website or the union’s calendar.

 

 During our meeting Thursday, 2/19 our bargaining committee continued to discuss the non-economic aspects of our bargaining agenda, and made several new proposals related to Academic Excellence.  This included addressing members’ concerns about clarity of job assignment, transparency of appointment/reappointment criteria, monitoring student/teacher ratios, providing more comprehensive training when necessary and accessing instruments and equipment necessary to maintain quality.  We also continued to press the University to respond to our outstanding information requests, particularly about the GAIP Health Plan.

Our next bargaining sessions will take place next Wednesday (Condon 311, time TBA) and Thursday(Condon 311, 9:00 a.m.).  All members are encouraged to attend!

 Happy Lunar New Year’s Eve!

We met with the University’s bargaining team today, and discussed a number of items on our bargaining agenda. Some of these items were positively received by the University—for example, the University expressed interest in our proposal to better advise ASEs of their intellectual property rights, and full support for our proposal to access information that maximizes the union’s ability to receive information that helps us represent our members.

Unfortunately, for other items, including micro-aggressions, childcare, career services, and debt management, the University offered little in response beyond promises to engage these items further at a later meeting. Furthermore, our exchanges today concerning the international student fee made clear that significant pressure is still needed to move the University to support an equitable and diverse campus.

Given these developments, it is especially important that members remain informed about and engaged in the bargaining process. You can help keep up pressure on the University by:

 New Proposals

We passed multiple proposals today on non-economic issues. The microaggressions work group had developed proposals relating to creating a more inclusive and accessible campus, including greater bathroom equity (access to all-gender bathrooms), paid optional training for ASEs and supervisors to identify and mitigate microaggressions, and eliminating the international student fee.  In addition we passed proposals to make the University more family-friendly, including increasing the ASE childcare subsidy and establishing access to childcare facilities and services on campus, greater access to lactation stations, and creating policies for paid family and childbirth leave as well as sick/safe leave (for all ASEs).  We made proposals related to ASEs enrolled in fee-based programs, to reduce the likelihood that an ASE would be denied a job because of their program tuition/fee rates, and we addressed members’ interest in providing better access to resources for debt management and career development.

GAIP

In our continued conversations with the University about the current GAIP plan and the need to consider alternatives to provide the best benefits for the lowest costs, we discussed the Request for Proposal (RFP) process that we asked the University to engage in.  However, the University was unprepared to reconcile the fundamental problem – as identified by our Unfair Labor Practice over the multiple unilateral changes to the benefits – that the RFP must be based on a stable set of benefits that was negotiated by the parties.  In other words, while the ULP remains unresolved, possible vendors will not be able to provide alternative proposals to the current GAIP.

In fact, the University claimed today to not know or fully understand why the unilateral changes happened.

They do know, however, that is deeply serious, and that as ASEs we find their inability to account for changes in a plan overseen by the University to be totally unacceptable. Consequently, this is a critical moment in our negotiations over GAIP; we need to continue to put pressure on the University. To do so, please attendbargaining sessions  if possible, and stay abreast of the bargaining updates if you cannot—and please, share these updates with fellow ASEs in your department. Again, this is an issue in which the University has unambiguously failed to maintain oversight over its own resources, and to ensure that this kind of failure cannot happen again, we need ASEs to be informed, active, and engaged.

We had further discussion on two important topic areas in our bargaining agenda:

Improve Health Care

The University brought a draft Request for Proposals to offer health benefits to ASEs in response to our push for them to consider alternatives to the current plan.  They reiterated their intent to solicit carriers and plan options in the coming weeks so that the parties could evaluate which could provide the best benefits at the lowest cost to the University and ASEs.  We anticipate having further discussion on this next week.

Create Greater Inclusivity, Accessibility, and Openness

We discussed further with the University our proposals on this set of issues.

One focal point was equity in relation to bathroom access and the need for more all-gender bathrooms.  We discussed how members had identified the need to improve this basic – but often overlooked – aspect of our working conditions to make the environment more inclusive for all workers regardless of gender identity or expression.

We also reiterated our opposition to the international student fee, which still is charged to some UAW members and discriminately affects many students on campus.  We offered to be partners in securing more resources to support the needs of international students, but could not support a fee that singled out a subset of students.

We also discussed the need to combat institutional discrimination and racism, including protecting the rights of vulnerable populations (such as undocumented students) and enacting strategies for all individuals to speak out against micro-aggressions.

Payroll Updates

Additionally the University gave a presentation about their new payroll system, which will involve updating their old software to enable better integration of their payroll data.  They also communicated that through this system they will make the transition from a semi-monthly to bi-weekly payroll timetable.  While several aspects of the ASE wage/benefits will not be affected by this, we raised questions about how this could affect wage parity between quarters and health care enrollment dates, among other items.

If you have any input/questions on these or other items, please contact us.

 

Today we met with UW to start bargaining our next contract.  Each work group was well- represented by members who presented the initial bargaining demands to the University’s bargaining team.

We began by discussing the GAIP plan and the need to move quickly to better understand and evaluate the plan to provide the best benefits for the lowest cost.  Representatives from the University’s Benefits Office had come prepared with a list of possible options to consider, including maintaining GAIP in its current form (fully insured), competitively bidding the plan, self-insuring the plan, eliminating the plan and providing payment to GAIP eligible employees, and exploring programs similar to those at other universities.   They agreed to start the RFP process of competitively bidding the plan no later than January, to ensure that options would be available to consider in time for the 2015/16 plan year.

Beyond health care, work group members and members of the Social Workers Student Union presented our proposals on each of the following topics:

  • Improve Compensation and Standards of Living
  • Improve Job Classifications
  • Create Greater Inclusivity, Access and Openness
  • Improve Family-Friendly Benefits
  • Improve Academic Quality
  • Improve Fairness in Intellectual Property and Commercialization
  • Increase UW Responsiveness to Union Grievances and Information Requests
  • Job placement and Debt management services

With a bit of discussion about these topics, the University’s team indicated basic alignment with the goals our initial proposals and requested more specifics.  They communicated that at this time they aren’t likely to propose changes to the existing contract, and raised the University’s interest in bargaining any effects to the change of their payroll system from semi-monthly to bi-weekly.  We as union members have the opportunity and responsibility to create actionable plans and proposals based on the initial demands to guide the discussion toward fruitful ends

We ended the session by requesting availability from the University, who responded that they would propose future dates by next week.  We will pass along to members the dates/times/locations of the next bargaining session(s) when we confirm them with UW.