Mar 252020
 
 March 25, 2020

The rapidly changing conditions on campus in light of COVID-19 are prompting numerous questions and concerns for Postdocs, ranging from appointment security, travel, health care and insurance, research deadlines, safety, visa issues, and more. If you have questions about the safety of your working conditions or how this is impacting your work, please reach out right away. The Health & Safety Working Group has developed a COVID-19 Resource page with Frequently Asked Questions, resources, key rights and protections from our Collective Bargaining Agreement, and ways you can get involved in mutual aid efforts. We also are continuing to bargain as part of a campus coalition to ensure that the rights of all of us are protected *and* that we are doing our part to flatten the curve and bring about as rapid a conclusion to this crisis as possible.

If you have questions related to any aspect of your work or access to resources for you or your family please don’t hesitate to reach out to your union representative at uaw4121@uaw4121.org.

In light of the volatility of the circumstances we made the difficult decision after significant deliberation to postpone bargaining over the Postdoc minimum wage scale (Article 32 of our Collective Bargaining Agreement). Our outreach efforts to connect with as many Postdocs as possible will continue as will discussions about how best to maintain stability in research and make progress in dealing with costs of living. If you haven’t already, please be sure to sign up as a member of the union to ensure we have sufficient power and resources to secure support and safety for all. If you are interested in getting more involved in our Local’s work to address COVID-related impacts and support needs, please email health-safety@uaw4121.org.

International Postdocs: Many postdocs may need to be out of the country right now for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The International Scholars Operations (ISO) outlines travel-related information for J1 exchange visitors at https://ap.washington.edu/ahr/visas/j1/travel. The ISO recommends that if there is a possibility you will be out of the US for longer than 30 days but still working on UW-related duties, you should get in contact with their office as soon as possible (acadvisa@uw.edu) to coordinate the necessary paperwork. They will need an “Out of Country Request Form” signed by yourself and your supervisor. There is no such travel time limit for H1B visa holders; however, if you do plan to work from home outside of the US, you should still contact the ISO and inform them of your new work location. If you are a Postdoc on a J1 or H1B visa remaining in Seattle and you are working from home, the ISO can update your Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) record to reflect your home as a secondary activity site – acadvisa@uw.edu is the contact for that as well. At any time if you have questions about these and other issues – including visa and appointment length concerns – please contact our International Work Group for support and assistance at intl-solidarity@uaw4121.org.

Essential Work: On Monday night, Governor Jay Inslee issued a “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order for the state of Washington. On Tuesday afternoon, the University issued a Research Update regarding this directive. Please check our COVID-19 Resources page and the University of Washington coronavirus website for how that order will impact campus operations. Please note that our collective bargaining agreement provides that “Postdocs shall not be required to work in conditions that pose an imminent danger to health and safety” and that “The University shall supply and maintain all equipment, tools and materials needed to carry out job duties safely.” If you have additional questions or concerns about your safety or would like support ensuring that you can get appropriate accommodations for your work please contact us at contractenforcement@uaw4121.org.

Thanks for all you’ve done to stay safe, and for maintaining a commitment to science and to each other during these difficult times.

UAW 4121 Joint Council

Tina Angerer
Douglas Avella-Castro
Leandro Casiraghi
Monica Cortés Viharo
Meg Drouhard
Max Friedfeld
Vern Harner
Dan Hart
Sam Kastner
Kyle Kubler
Kristin McCowan
Emily Myers
Anzela Niraula
Jacob O’Connor
Nayon Park
Marissa Parker
David Parsons
Cristian Proistosescu
Shua Sanchez
Paige Sechrest
Solmaz Shakerifard
Sam Sumpter
Judy Twedt
Jon Witt