International Solidarity


Who We Are

We are UAW Local 4121 members concerned with matters affecting international student members of our union. Our union is comprised of more than 1,000 international students from virtually every country in the world. We draw from the rich experiences and deep expertise of these international students and from researchers working on global issues to accomplish the following objectives:

  1. Understand the challenges faced by international ASE’s at the UW, and address them in the context of our collective bargaining agreement.
  2. Advocate for the equal right of international ASE’s to access resources needed to fulfill their academic and professional goals.
  3. Develop strategies to connect with and support larger global movements social justice movements.
What We Do

Past and current activities of the International Solidarity workgroup:

  • Resist Trump’s Executive Orders: Upon issuance of the Executive Orders banning travel for immigrants from 7 (now 6) named countries, UAW members and the International Solidarity Work Group have taken swift action and acted as part of a broad coalition who was successful at halting Trump’s administration.  Go to our Taking Action for Immigration and Undocumented Rights page for a listing of actions taken.
  • Sanctuary Campus: In coalition with other campus unions, UAW Local 4121 helped lead the push for the University of Washington to become a “sanctuary” campus.  This means not only that the University would refuse to provide information about undocumented and immigrant students and workers, but also that it would take active steps to provide support, resources, advocacy and accommodations to anyone potentially affected by threats from the Trump administration.  See our letter here and press coverage here.
  • Immigration forum: In December 2016, we held our Immigration Information & Strategy Forums. Theresa Aliwarga, member of the UAW 4121 executive board and international solidarity working group, spoke about possible changes under a Trump administration that could affect international students and scholars. She was joined by speakers from OneAmericaUW Leadership Without Borders and an immigration attorney who provided Know Your Rights information.
  • International Student Fee: The UW imposes a $45 per quarter fee on all international students. Members of the International Solidarity workgroup have worked with the Bargaining Committee to ensure that the international student fee is waived for ASEs. We continue to work with various international student organizations on campus for the elimination of this discriminatory fee for all international students. – VICTORY WON THROUGH TRAVEL BAN BARGAINING IN APRIL 2017!!!
  • STEM OPT extension: In August 2015, the OPT extension available to F-1 students in STEM fields was vacated by a court ruling, forcing the USCIS to re-introduce the proposed OPT extension rules. The International Solidarity Workgroup organized a workshop to discuss the implications of the court ruling, and develop an action to stop the reversal of the STEM extension. We mobilized hundreds of international students and successfully petitioned the Department of Homeland Security to adopt the proposed STEM OPT extension.
  • Opposition to H.R. 158: In December 2015, Congress considered the H.R. 158 bill that placed undue travel restrictions on dual nationals of targeted countries, including Iran, Iraq and Syria. We launched a campaign in opposition to the bill, and urged Washington senators to vote it down.
  • International ASE survey: We are currently developing a survey and gathering stories of work-related issues that international ASE’s face. Please get in touch if you have story to share or would like to help develop the survey.
Get Support

If you are an international ASE at the UW and have any questions or concerns, please send an email to

A list of resources for immigrant and undocumented folks can be found here.

Get Involved

If you would like to get more involved in the workgroup or just want to get regular updates, please send an email to Workgroup meetings are held about once a quarter during the Fall, Winter and Spring quarters. Upcoming meeting dates will posted on the UAW 4121 calendar. New members are most welcome!