Trump Admin’s Order Limiting Non-Immigrant Visa Travel
In the Trump Administration’s ongoing efforts to scapegoat non-U.S. citizens, earlier this week they issued an Executive Proclamation suspending entry to the U.S. for some on non-immigrant visas, including: H1-B visas, H-2B visas, L visas, and some J visas. As a result of massive pushback (including from our union and other UAW academic locals), the executive order does not include F-1/OPT visas or other visa types not listed above. In addition, it does not appear to affect J-1 categories typically used by Postdocs, although we are pursuing further legal guidance about this. The White House justifies this xenophobic decision in the name of economic recovery: that immigrants damage the US economy. We demand better. We call for a response to the economic downturns that prioritizes all workers, and ends xenophobic scapegoating like this latest order.
On Tuesday, our colleagues at UAW 2865 and UAW 5810 held an information session to address questions relevant to Academic Student Employees and Postdocs. You can view a recording of that session here. In addition, if you have questions or concerns about how this order may apply to you, or if you would like to get involved with work to fight back, please get in touch with the International Solidarity Working Group at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UW Admin Freezes Faculty & Staff Wages – Unionized Employees Protected
Earlier this month, the UW Regents approved the 2020-21 operating budget, suspending regular annual salary increases for faculty and professional staff. As UW’s budget announcement states, this wage freeze does not apply to employees whose salaries are protected by collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) — including classified staff, Academic Student Employees (ASEs), and Postdocs.
While the economic impacts from the pandemic are growing, we reject the austerity frame that leads to “inevitable” decisions such as suspending standard wage increases and furloughing UW employees. We know that these decisions are far more impactful on middle- to low-wage employees and will disproportionately affect non-citizen and BIPOC workers. Conversely, policy measures like Tax Amazon (to counter the astronomical profits of the wealthiest resulting from the first stimulus bill) and the Paycheck Recovery Act (which if passed would provide sufficient funding for the University of Washington and every employer to preserve the full pay and benefits of everyone for a full three months) are two ways to fix the regressive revenue systems that constrain existing budget mechanisms. A growing number of voices (here and here) are pushing lawmakers to do more.
But this fight against austerity is not winnable without all of us coming together. When we demonstrate our collective resolve by unionizing, we build greater power to secure strong contractual protections and to push lawmakers to make budgetary decisions that prioritize workers’ needs. If you aren’t already a union member, you can help build our collective power by signing up today!
Trans Pride this weekend!
This weekend is Seattle Trans Pride, and this year’s events will be held entirely online. Friday through Sunday, join the Seattle trans community for workshops, film screenings, live-streamed performances, and more. Workshops include sessions on trans resources during COVID-19, QTPOC community, employment rights, and much more. Trans Pride is an annual event organized by Gender Justice League, and events are open to the trans and gender diverse community as well as allies. For more information and a full schedule of events, check out www.transprideseattle.org, and follow the Facebook page for updates.
Organizing for Racial Justice
In the past week, 4121 members have continued to take action with our broader communities in the movement for racial justice and Black lives, including coming together with others in the King County labor community to remove the Seattle police union from our local labor council. On Juneteenth, members continued taking action by showing up in support of the powerful West Coast port shutdown and by joining thousands for a march organized by King County Equity Now. In the coming weeks, ASEs and Postdocs from across UW will continue organizing around a number of anti-racism campaigns — including work at UW and in the broader community — through our Anti-Discrimination Working Group. All members are encouraged to email email@example.com for more info or to get involved!
Tax Amazon Updates & Action Opportunities
We currently have more than 20,000 signatures on the Tax Amazon ballot initiative petition! We need 30,000 physical signatures by July 2nd, so we need to push hard for the next couple of weeks. Now is the time to help!
Saturday: Mega Canvass! This Saturday 6/27 from noon-5pm we’ll be going ALL OUT to increase physical signature collection. Volunteers are meeting up to canvass starting from multiple locations, including in South Seattle, University District, and Capitol Hill. You can join for a 2-hour shift or the whole afternoon! More information and RSVP here.
Daily: Tabling shifts! We are stepping up the pace by adding weeknight tabling shifts, as well as continuing with the weekend tabling shifts. You can help by joining the volunteer hub closest to your home. Wear a mask and gloves if you can, but we’ll have them at the hub as well. Get full details and RSVP here.
Tenant Rights Bootcamp
On Sunday June 28, Be:Seattle is holding a virtual tenant rights bootcamp for all Seattle renters. Learn more about your rights, how to fight for better protections, and what’s going on with current tenant campaigns during COVID-19. Topics include your rights during the COVID eviction moratorium, landlords’ deadlines for making repairs, and more. For more information and to RSVP, check out the Facebook event.
UAW 4121 Members at the WA Democratic Convention
After winning their elections to become delegates, several 4121 members attended the (virtual) Washington State Democratic Convention this year. With other delegates from all over Washington state, we passed a progressive, pro-worker platform to take to the national convention later this year, including a 32-hour work week! If you are interested in learning more or would like to get involved in more political work, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Monica Cortés Viharo