Sep 102020
 
 September 10, 2020
UAW 4121
In the face of multiple overlapping social and economic crises in the past months, Academic Student Employees and Postdocs have been coming together through our union to take action for working and vulnerable people, both at the University of Washington and beyond. As a union, we have leveraged multiple levers of power — our contracts, direct action, one-on-one organizing, legal and political pressure, and more — to fight for and win structural changes that make both the UW and our broader communities better for everyone. 

This work is necessarily ongoing, and is made stronger by each member who gets involved. All members are welcome and encouraged to join our working groups — read on to learn more about some of the many ways you can help build our collective power!

Anti-Discrimination Working Group 

UAW 4121 members have been on the streets nearly every day since May taking action for Black lives, and our Anti-Discrimination Working Group meets weekly to build both short- and long-term campaigns for racial justice and structural equity at the UW and beyond. Fill out this form to get involved!

  • Member Education subgroupDeveloping anti-racist trainings for members that will be run monthly beginning in October.
  • Diversity-Equity-Inclusion (DEI) Committees subgroup: Researching existing DEI committees at UW and best practices for DEI committees; researching best practices for recruitment and retention; developing a toolkit for DEI committees; etc.
  • Department Organizing & Mobilization subgroup: Supports members in building organizing campaigns around equity/anti-racism issues in their departments; coordinates with other campus and community groups; mutual aid; etc.
  • Black Caucus: Open to all Black ASEs and Postdocs! Get more info and join by emailing black-caucus@uaw4121.org.
  • Rapid Mobilization Network: Connects members interested in participating in rallies/marches/events in the community. Fill out this form to get involved!

Climate Justice Working Group 

Members from across disciplines are working collectively towards climate justice here the Pacific Northwest. Over the last several months, we have been developing environmental justice “pillars” and legislative priorities, specifically focused on the intersection of the labor movement and climate justice, that will help build directions for future advocacy. These priorities include continued support of Inslee’s Environmental Justice Taskforce, where our Local represents the broader Washington State labor community to develop a Just Transition plan for workers impacted by reduction of fossil fuels; and working in coalition with the Climate Alliance for Jobs in Clean Energy. The Climate Justice Working Group meets every other week.  For more info and to get involved, email climatejustice@uaw4121.org.

Family Friendly Working Group 

Our Family Friendly workgroup is working to support Postdoc parents and caregivers and is developing guidelines to administer the Childcare Fund from Article 5 of our contract. For more info and to get involved, email familyfriendly@uaw4121.org.

Healthcare Working Group

The Postdoc Healthcare Working Group is taking action to ensure all Postdocs receive health coverage! Please take a minute to help by signing our petition calling on the UW administration to stop excluding Postdocs who are funded through paid-direct mechanisms from getting the same health insurance that other Postdocs get. This policy disproportionately affects international scholars and it harms all of us when any of us are without healthcare. For more info and to get involved, email PDhealthcare@uaw4121.org.

Housing Justice Working Group 

On October 15, Washington State’s emergency eviction moratorium will expire, and without bold action to continue it, Governor Jay Inslee will be unleashing a mass wave of catastrophic evictions in Washington. We know that many of our members were already rent-burdened even before the COVID pandemic began, so our Housing Justice Working Group is taking action by getting involved with the Cancel Rent & Mortgages Washington movement. If you have any questions or would like to get involved, please email housing-justice@uaw4121.org.

International Solidarity Working Group 

In recent months, our International Solidarity Working Group has been a force for taking action to protect and advance the rights of international students and scholars. Among other work, this summer alone, we have:

  • Continued ongoing outreach and organizing with incoming international students to ensure their appointments are honored even if they can’t work physically in the US.
  • Called on UW Admin to create an international scholar-led Task Force to democratically and accountably address the current lack of communication and organization across the UW on issues affecting international students and workers.
  • Coordinated with academic workers across the country to organize multiple info sessions and nationwide protests to defeat the ICE directive requiring international students to attend classes in person or face deportation.
  • Pressured elected officials at the city, state, and federal level to include non-citizens in critical COVID relief measures. 
  • Taken action to resist proposed changes to F1-OPT extensions and H1B visas.

The ISW meets weekly to continue this ongoing work — email intl-workgroup@uaw4121.org with a non-UW email address for more info and to get involved!

Organizing Committees – ASE and Postdoc

Both Academic Student Employee and Postdoc Organizing Committees meet weekly to build union membership and leadership networks, reach out to our colleagues about joining the union, coordinate new member orientations, and more. Postdocs are also developing our bargaining survey for upcoming Postdoc contract negotiations. For more information and to get involved with organizing in your department, email uaw4121@uaw4121.org.

Political Working Group 

The Political Working Group is ramping up in preparation for November 3rd, and is in the process of determining our general election endorsements! In the meantime, we have worked to identify key races across Washington where we have the opportunity to elect pro-labor, pro-environment, pro-education candidates, and have several opportunities to volunteer — including phone banking with campaigns, contacting fellow union members, and getting out the vote! If you’re interested in getting involved with any of this work, email political@uaw4121.org.

Member Resources and Support 

If you’re facing issues with your work or in your department, get in touch with the Contract Enforcement Working Group by emailing us or filling out this form. The Contract Enforcement Working Group is made up of UAW 4121 members who have experience and training assisting fellow members with a wide range of concerns — including appointment security, harassment and discrimination, workload, leaves, and much more — both informally and through our grievance procedure
In Solidarity,

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