COVID-19 Updates & Resources
In an effort to keep Academic Student Employees (ASEs) and Postdocs continually updated about our rights, protections, and resources during the rapidly developing COVID-19 pandemic, a new COVID-19 resource page is now available on the Local 4121 website: http://www.uaw4121.org/news-updates/covid-19-resource-center/. This page will be continually updated, and we will also continue to send new information via email. If you have any issues, questions, or concerns not addressed here, please email firstname.lastname@example.org right away for support. If you are interested in getting more involved in our Local’s work to address COVID-related impacts and support needs, please email email@example.com!
Postdoc Wage Scale Bargaining on 3/24
When Postdocs were bargaining our first contract, we won language stating that if the NIH/NRSA scale increased during the lifetime of the collective bargaining agreement, Postdocs could re-negotiate the current Wage Scale. In February, NIH did so. Since then, a majority of Postdocs have signed on to the initial bargaining demands, and our first bargaining date is coming up on Tuesday, March 24th.
Fair wages are critical for ensuring that everyone is able to pursue a Postdoc and advance their career, even if they aren’t independently wealthy. And in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, bargaining these wage adjustments is also critical for ensuring Postdocs have adequate support and don’t get left behind our peer institutions or other UW workers who are getting range adjustments. Bargaining fair wages now is just one important piece of ensuring UW comes out of the COVID-19 pandemic stronger, not weaker.
SURVEY: Impacts on Lab Work
A number of members across UW have recently reported that they are receiving conflicting messages from their departments or PIs about remote work arrangements, or are feeling pressure to work physically in their labs. In order to better understand what messages ASEs and Postdocs who work in labs are receiving, members are circulating this short survey. All ASEs and Postdocs who work in labs, please take 5 minutes now to help build this collective effort for increased transparency and consistency around our health and safety!
Online Instruction for Spring Quarter
Yesterday, UW President Ana Mari Cauce announced that instruction for the entirety of Spring Quarter will be conducted remotely. As Spring Quarter approaches, 4121 members in instructional roles have already begun reporting some concerns about the transition to online instruction. If you have concerns or are unsure how to manage your teaching responsibilities remotely, and you have not already received adequate guidance from your department or supervisor, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also note that we have very strong workload protections, and all ASEs are encouraged to keep close track of your work hours as soon as work for Spring Quarter appointments begin. If you find that you’re regularly going over your normal weekly workload, please get in touch right away.
Both the ASE and Postdoc contracts have strong protections for appointment security. If you have accepted an appointment, it cannot be taken away. In particular, for ASEs who are facing changes to their job duties, please note that regardless of any changes made to your job duties, your pay and benefits must be commensurate with your original appointment. ASEs can find more information in Article 4 of the ASE contract; Postdocs can find more information in Article 4 of the Postdoc contract. If you are concerned about proposed changes to your appointment, please email email@example.com.
UW Building Closures
Many campus buildings have been closing to the public and are only accessible to those who have Husky Card and/or key access. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any concerns about how this may affect you.
As the COVID pandemic develops and continues to cause stress, fear, and trauma, it is important to recognize the toll it is likely to have on our mental health. We encourage everyone to take time to receive the mental health support they need. As a reminder, both ASEs and Postdocs have access to leaves for health issues, including mental health. In addition, ASEs on GAIP should have their deductibles waived for mental health care, both in-network and out-of-network, and are covered for telephone and video conference appointments. Below find some additional resources for mental health support through UW, and if you have any questions or concerns about access to mental health support, representatives at email@example.com can offer assistance.
UW Union Coalition
Our Health & Safety Working Group continues to work with a coalition of UW Unions to raise and address work impacts stemming from COVID-19 with university administration. This is a critical collective effort to ensure the rights and safety of all UW workers, including frontline healthcare, custodial, and maintenance workers. Be on the lookout for more updates soon about this coalition work as it progresses!
Canadian Travel Restrictions
Yesterday, the Trump administration announced that the US-Canada border would be closed to all non-essential travel. This latest travel restriction builds on last week’s announcement of restrictions for travel from Europe to the US. As always, any ASE and Postdoc who is impacted has stronger access to recourse and support by working through our union. Anyone impacted by this or any other travel restrictions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org right away for support!
Moratorium on Evictions
When we fight, we win! This week, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and City Council passed a moratorium on residential evictions, which will be in effect for at least the next 60 days. This order includes protection for evictions related to leases that already have or will expire. In addition, on Wednesday, Governor Jay Inslee ordered a ban on residential evictions throughout Washington State for at least 30 days, and Seattle City announced a ban on evictions for small businesses and nonprofits. All of these critical measures come after nearly 7000 people signed onto a petition started by Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant calling for an end to evictions during the COVID outbreak.
NEW PETITION: Tax Amazon to Fund COVID Relief
Seattle City Councilmembers Tammy Morales and Kshama Sawant are calling for the proposed Amazon Tax to be enacted immediately in order to fund emergency needs related to COVID-19, including cash assistance for working people who have lost income, funds for testing and treatment, tiny house villages to support those who are unhoused, and more. More than 5000 people have already signed on to this petition in a single day — please add your name now to help build this critical collective effort!
Mutual Aid Networks
A number of mutual aid network opportunities have begun to emerge in the Puget Sound area, as community resources for providing or receiving support around a wide range of needs, including food access and delivery, prescription pickup, financial support, and more.
UAW 4121 Joint Council
Monica Cortés Viharo