Meeting Information

 

UAW Local 4121 Membership Meeting

Our next monthly membership meeting will take place on Wednesday, February 16, 2011 at 5:00 p.m in MLR 301.

The bargaining committee will be presenting the bargaining goals for ratification. You can vote at the meeting or the next day, Thursday, February 17th, 2011 at the following times and locations:
  • Red Square by Kane Hall: 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 noon<\LI>
  • Physics/Astronomy Courtyard: 12:30 - 5:00 p.m.<\LI>

All current members may attend membership meetings. Membership may be obtained at the meeting. As always, children are welcome.

UAW Local 4121 Executive Board Meeting

Our next monthly Executive Board meeting will held on Tuesday Feburary 22nd at 8:30 AM in the UAW Local 4121 Office.

Archive: Bargaining Updates

6/4/10: Tentative Agreement Ratified

On Friday, June 4th, voting was concluded to ratify our tentative agreement with UW. Members voted by a margin of 71% to 29% in favor of ratifying the agreement. Thank you to all who participated.

6/1/10: Tentative Agreement Reached

We have reached a tentative agreement with the UW bargaining committee. Members will have the opportunity to vote to ratify the agreement on Thursday and Friday, June 3rd and 4th.

The bargaining committee is recommending this agreement for ratification. Details will be made available to members at the time of the ratification vote, but generally the agreement includes the following:

-We held on to the significant gains we made with respect to ASE jobs in the College of Arts and Sciences;
-We made an improvement to childcare benefits, such that ASEs with a 50% FTE appointment can now take an additional day of paid leave for child care emergencies;
-We maintained our layoff protections and variable pay;
-UW has agreed to continue paying 100% of our health insurance premiums, and has committed to suing to recover funds overpaid to GAIP, as well as to bargain over any money recovered. Our current health insurance benefits will remain intact.

The specific terms of the tentative agreement can be read here.

These improvements were hard-won, due in large part to the mobilization efforts of UAW 4121 members. However our decision to recommend settlement comes with a call for continued mobilization in the coming year. Our tentative agreement does not include compensation increases or adjustments in our fees. We’ve agreed to a one-year contract –rather than a multi-year deal – because it affords us important protections in the short term while we continue our fight on these fronts.

We recognize that we are far from being the only target of the University’s policy towards workers charged with carrying out its research, service and teaching missions. Currently President Emmert is making a move to gut annual faculty increases, and UW is likely to refuse across-the-board compensation packages to other bargaining units on campus whose contracts are up for negotiations. This is despite the fact that top administrative payroll has gone up exponentially in the last few years: ironically those responsible for carelessly spending University resources to overpay health insurance premiums are being rewarded. This naturally begs the question, where are the University’s priorities?

Beginning now and through the next year, we will continue to work to change the University's priorities and ensure greater fairness for those who make UW work.

This week, ratification voting will take place on Thursday, June 3rd in front of the HUB West Entrance from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and on Friday, June 4th in the Physics/Astronomy Courtyard from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. In addition union activists will bring ballot boxes to ASEs throughout campus. If you wish to vote and cannot come to one of the polling places, please contact us at uaw4121@uaw4121.org. We also will be holding informational sessions for interested members on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. in LOW 112 and Friday and noon in RAI 107.

 

Bargaining Update May 25, 2010

Yesterday we met with the University and the mediator and began a discussion of a comprehensive settlement package. The discussion was not concluded, and we formally extended the contract until June 1st, 2010.

As the end of the quarter approaches we will continue communicating with members individually about next steps. Please contact us at uaw4121@uaw4121.org or 206.633.6080 if you have specific questions. As a reminder we will be having a membership meeting on Friday (May 28th) at 5:30 pm in Loew 102.

Bargaining Update May 21, 2010

This past week we’ve had another formal bargaining session on Thursday, May 20th with the University’s team and the mediator from the state’s Public Employment Relations Commission. Following an exchange of proposals, the mediator ordered that the bargaining be suspended and that the contract be extended until Monday, May 24th. We expect to receive on Monday a recommendation from the mediator on a comprehensive settlement proposal.

As of now, the University’s position remains unchanged with regards to ASE compensation. The University’s current proposal on compensation is to provide a wage increase for ASEs only if faculty are given an increase. With mandatory fees scheduled to rise by at least 53% over the next three years, the University’s proposal amounts to a de facto pay cut for all ASE’s. While some groups on campus have experienced pay increases, and many have experienced wage freezes, ASE’s are being singled out as the only employee group on campus being asked to take cuts to their earnings. We have proposed that if the University will not commit to a wage increase they will waive our mandatory fees so as to avoid cuts to our earnings.

Since the last contract extension, union activists have polled a majority of ASEs about these competing proposals, and the response could not be clearer. Nearly 100% of those polled have said they would support our proposal on compensation, and approximately 98% agreed to reject the University’s proposal. In addition, approximately 80% said they would strike if the University would not reach a fair settlement. This sends a clear message that ASEs are unwilling to stand for disparate treatment from the University.

Bargaining Update May 12, 2010

During the past week we’ve had a few informational exchanges with the University over the GAIP health insurance plan and one formal bargaining session on Tuesday, May 11th with the University’s bargaining team and a mediator from the state’s Public Employment Relations Commission. These sessions have not provided the basis for us to settle the contract with the University. We have extended the contract until May 21, 2010 in order to allow for some further discussion with the University, but also so that we can contact members about our current bargaining proposals as well as possible next steps.

In negotiations we have proposed alternative compensation packages, such as fee waivers in lieu of a standard wage increase. One key difference between ASEs and other University employees is that student campus-wide fees are required of us as a condition of employment. While other expenses (parking, health care) have been increasing for all employees, they are not requisite for employment. Thus a wage “freeze” for ASEs actually results in a de facto pay cut because of rising costs of fees. The University has so far refused to accept any of our compensation proposals.

There have been some positive developments in the past week. We’ve had conversations with multiple deans, department chairs, and faculty members who have expressed support for quickly resolving the contract with compensation enhancements for ASEs. Additionally, the UW chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) passed a resolution in support of our bargaining efforts at their May 5th executive board meeting (click here to see the text).

In the next few days you’ll be contacted by a union activist and asked to share your opinions about our bargaining proposals as well as discuss possible next steps to win a strong contract. If you can help contact other members, please email us at uaw4121@uaw4121.org.

Thanks as always for your continued support during these difficult negotiations.

Bargaining Update May 3, 2010

Regarding today's (May 3rd) action or other possible upcoming actions on campus: We share the broader goals of various activist groups on campus who are fighting for a truly public university, funded by revenue generated through progressive tax reforms rather than tuition increases. As we stated in our last bargaining update we are not calling for a strike at this time, and we've agreed to temporarily extend our contract through May 12th.

As an update, we have now received sanction from the Martin Luther King County Labor Council and the UAW International Executive Board.

Bargaining Update April 30, 2010

After two days of further negotiations, we agreed today to extend our current contract through May 12th to increase the likelihood of reaching a fair settlement with the University.

There are a number of complicated issues still to be resolved. We recently received information from the University regarding the structure of the health insurance plan as well as premium overpayments. While we have begun analyzing this information and it does clarify some of the features of our insurance plan, further questions remain about the University’s wasteful spending. Our intent is to continue to pursue and resolve the improprieties of the plan, although this will take time. Perhaps if we had received this information sooner, we would be further along in this process.

In addition the University is still refusing to address our compensation proposal in negotiations. Despite our continued willingness to explore different ways of structuring compensation enhancements, as well as point out to the University how they can fund our contract in a cost-neutral manner, we have not reached agreement on this critical piece.

On the positive side the University has agreed to remove the proposed cuts to TA positions in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Odegaard Writing Center. This is a significant victory, which was made possible through months of mobilization by members. The University also confirmed that its takeaway proposals (eliminating layoff protection, variable pay, and health insurance premium shares) are no longer on the table.

However, at this time we don’t believe that a settlement is in the best interests of our members. Until we’re satisfied that the money available to be spent on ASEs is not being used for some other purpose, we’re not willing to conclude negotiations. Because we still believe that a fair contract is possible, we are not calling for a strike at this time. However we have sought strike sanction from the King County Labor Council pursuant to the request of our members at Wednesday’s membership meeting.

GPSS Resolution April 28, 2010

On April 28th, 2010 the UW GPSS Senate passed a resolution in support of the UAW 4121 bargaining committee in it's negotiations with the University, and urged the UW Administration and UW bargaining committee to come to a timely and fair agreement on the new contract. The full text of Resolution Number 05.09-10 can be seen here.

Membership Resolution April 28, 2010

At the April 28th, 2010 membership meeting UAW 4121 members passed a resolution calling on the bargaining committee to call a strike if an agreement cannot be reached with the University of Washington. The full text can be seen here.

Bargaining Update: April 28, 2010

On Monday, April 26th we again met with the University’s bargaining team and a mediator from the state’s Public Employment Relations Commission.

As we approach the April 30th contract expiration, the University continues to refuse our settlement offer that:

a) Sets out a separate process for dealing with the mismanaged health insurance funds;
b) Uses money available from savings to next year’s health insurance plan to fund a fair, cost-neutral compensation package for ASEs. The University is maintaining its position that any compensation increase for ASEs – even one that is funded by savings from insurance – is unacceptable.

These conversations are ongoing, and we are meeting again with the University’s team along with the mediator on Thursday, 4/29. We will update you with developments.

In the meantime, thank you to all members who participated in the departmental meetings we held over the last two weeks across campus to discuss negotiations and possible next steps. Next, we will be holding a membership meeting on Wednesday, 4/28 at 5:30 in Gould 322, where we’ll provide a more detailed update on the bargaining process. All current members may attend membership meetings. Membership may be obtained at the meeting. As always, children are welcome.

Finally, this Thursday, April 29th at noon, undergraduate members of the Student Labor Action Project will hold an event in support of our contract negotiations. Please join them in the Quad for an appreciation barbecue and march to Red Square.

 

Bargaining Update: April 21, 2010

We met with the University’s bargaining team again today, along with a neutral mediator from the state’s Public Employment Relations Committee.

Due to the consistent pressure being placed on the University both at the bargaining table and by members across campus, the University’s bargaining team today removed most of its takeaway proposals from the table in an effort to reach a quick settlement and deflect attention away from its mismanagement of our health care program. But the University is still refusing to be fully upfront about the $10.6 millions of dollars in overpayments to the health insurance companies and is still continuing to claim that—despite documentary evidence to the contrary—the money being overpaid to insurance carriers is not a matter for bargaining. Accordingly, the University has yet to offer us a meaningful response to our proposals on wages, health insurance, child care, and academic excellence.

Because there is still a significant amount of money available from overpayments to the health insurance carrier we’re continuing to seek a fair and reasonable settlement on our proposals. Today we explained to the mediator our understanding of the mismanagement of the health care plan and demonstrated that if the University were to bargain over this money our proposals would be cost neutral. We’re meeting with the University’s bargaining team and mediator again tomorrow, and will update you with developments.

Finally, due to the University’s continued reluctance to be upfront about the mismanagement of the health insurance program we filed an unfair labor practice with the state’s Public Employment Relations Committee on Monday. You can read an earlier letter we sent to the University informing them that they were engaging in an unfair labor practice as well as more information explaining the mismanagement of the health care program here:

Who Pays the Cost for the GAIP?

Information Center

We estimate that University has overpaid $10.6 million to the Graduate Appointee Insurance Program, (GAIP) since 2002. In addition to bargaining updates posted below, we'll post information here as we pursue a fair settlement on this matter.

March 31, 2010 Brief of UW's overpayment to GAIP Insurance Companies

April 5, 2010 Letter to University Detailing Unfair Labor Practices

April 8, 2010 Spreadsheet explaining estimate of $10.6 million GAIP overpayment

April 26, 2010 Not An Accident: Questionable Financing Practices of GAIP

 

Bargaining Update: April 7, 2010

This week we met with the University’s bargaining committee to further discuss our proposals on health care benefits. Present were representatives from the University’s benefits department and their health insurance broker.

We once again asked the University to account for the estimated $10.6 million in overpaid premiums. In an earlier communication, the University had stated that while its insurance carrier, United Health Care (UHC), “is not required to refund any money back to the university,” the health insurance broker, Parker, Smith and Feek, “has successfully negotiated with UHC that the University will receive a partial refund.” Today, however, representatives from the University’s benefits office admitted that they had not negotiated a partial refund and that the earlier statement was, in fact, untrue. We have advised the University’s bargaining team that their reluctance to be upfront about the estimated $10.6 million in overpaid premiums constitutes an unfair labor practice and their misleading statements about the refunds amounts to bargaining in bad faith.

You can see an accounting of the estimated $10.6 million, as well as a copy of our recent letter to the University informing them that they are engaging in unfair labor practices here.

Due to the complexity and volatility of some of the bargaining issues, as well as the University’s apparent bad-faith approach to the health benefits issue, we have jointly requested a neutral mediator from the state’s Public Employment Relations Committee.

We will be sure to keep you informed of further developments. In the meantime, check out the video of our action on March 31st here. The action on the 31st was a great success. Hundreds of ASE’s stood up against the University’s proposed cuts and voiced their support for a strong contract—we’ve gotten lots of positive feedback about the event and ASE’s are currently planning future events in support of a strong contract. If you would like to get involved please contact us.

Bargaining Update: March 31, 2010

See our video of hundreds of members coming out in response to the University’s take away proposals in contract negotiations:

 

Read our press release for more information on this action.

Today we had a constructive discussion around our proposal to preserve academic quality by restoring tutoring jobs that were cut. The University committed to providing our bargaining team with models for alternative tutoring services.

We also discussed health insurance. Recently, we learned that since 2002, UW has carelessly overpaid insurance companies, administrators and brokers by $10.6 million. This is more than enough money to avoid ASE job cuts for the past 2 years AND afford improvements in wages, childcare and health care! For more information, please click here.

Thank you for your support. With questions, feedback or to get more involved, please contact us at: uaw4121@uaw4121.org or 206.663.6080. Don’t forget to join us on Facebook.

 

Bargaining Update: March 25, 2010

We met with the University bargaining team this week on Monday and Tuesday. Once again they came to the table with only cuts proposals. Relying on their budget forecast, the University proposed to weaken radically the layoff protections guaranteed to ASEs in our current contract, and to make significant cuts to jobs in the coming year.

Under their proposed changes to layoff, jobs promised to ASEs in appointment letters could be rescinded at the University’s discretion and with no guarantee of another appointment or equal compensation, not to mention tuition waiver or health insurance benefits. Clearly this would represent a major loss in job security and stability for ASEs, and severely hamper departments’ abilities to recruit quality graduate students.

The University also informed us that 2/3 of planned cuts to the College of Arts and Sciences will be ASE positions. While they were walking us through this plan, which would result in a loss of over 440 TA quarters of employment in Arts and Sciences alone, it became clear that the impact to the academic quality and ASE working conditions would be enormous. In their own words, the cuts they are discussing:

"will guarantee that the College will close any remaining writing or tutoring centers. It would also mean severe reductions or near elimination of student writing assignments in lower level classes, as TA‘s will be responsible for larger numbers of student assignments. It will also affect our ability to offer labs in introductory science courses. We might even have to offer most of our large lecture classes without sections, and nothing more than graders. In addition to the significant negative effects on undergraduate education, such deep TA cuts will severely impact the quality of our graduate programs across the College." (http://www.washington.edu/admin/pb/home/pdf/bgt-narratives/fy2011/Arts-and-Sciences.pdf)

On Wednesday, March 31st at 5:00 p.m., we'll be having a major action on campus during which we'll give bargaining updates and also visibly stand in opposition to the University's proposals. We're making phone calls to notify members of this action; please contact us (uaw4121@uaw4121.org) if you can help.

 

Bargaining Update: March 19, 2010

We bargained with UW Administrators Monday and Wednesday. We further discussed our proposals on salary, healthcare, childcare, improving student to instructor/tutor ratios and reopening tutoring centers closed by budget cuts. UW made no movement from their proposals to reduce wages, weaken our protection from being laid off, and make ASEs pay 12% of GAIP premiums-roughly an additional $82/quarter.

UW Administrators stated that our proposals were too costly. We pointed out that the current salary increases (for 2009-10), according to the Regents own estimate, cost UW a mere $664,000 (http://www.washington.edu/regents/meetings/minutes/2009/6june.pdf), a miniscule amount within the University's overall budget. We asked UW's bargainers to defend their assertion. They did not.

UW Administrators stated that restoring student-ASE ratios and re-opening Tutoring Centers were unreasonable proposals because these were cuts UW Administrators made this year and were likely targets for additional cuts next year.

We responded that these cuts are not only bad for ASEs who lost jobs and ASEs who must pick up the resulting additional work, but also for the quality of education provided by UW.

Watch our "flash mob" action protesting cuts to UW Tutoring Centers:

 

 

Watch our video in which Academic Student Employees tell stories about how they've been affected by the budget cuts, and learn how we've mobilized in favor of progressive revenue solutions:

 

 

Bargaining Update: March 9, 2010

On Tuesday, March 9th, we met again with the University's bargaining committee and heard their presentation about the current budget situation. The presentation focused primarily on state revenue shortfalls and increases to federal funding for research. There was no discussion of possible long-term solutions.

In response we presented a video (see link above), documenting how budget cuts have adversely affected us and the overall quality of education and research at the University. Additionally, our bargaining committee showed how our members have been mobilizing in favor of short and long-term solutions to the revenue shortfall that do not disproportionately burden ASEs and working families.

We will be meeting again with the University's committee next week.

 

Bargaining Update: March 4, 2010

On Thursday, March 4th, against the backdrop of thousands of students taking a stance against budget cuts in Seattle and nationwide, we met with the University's bargaining committee to propose a set of bargaining goals that were overwhelmingly ratified by the membership:

-Increase earnings for all ASEs to keep pace with increases in cost of living, work requirements and peer wages;

-Secure improvements to the current health program, such that:
-Services are adequately covered;
-ASEs with extraordinary costs are protected;
-Dependents are more affordably covered;
-Plan Administration is improved;

-Ensure that ASEs' ability to maintain quality in their jobs is not hindered by inadequate staffing or resources.

The University came to the table with only irrational cuts and takeaways:

-Eliminate wage increases;

-Weaken layoff protections for ASEs who have already been offered appointments;

-Change variable pay practices, such that ASEs currently being paid above base rates could be dropped to lower pay rates;

-Place the burden of paying health insurance premiums upon ASEs.

The University's committee also communicated their opposition to our work in the Legislature on behalf of policies that would ensure affordability and accountability in tuition setting.

 

Results of Bargaining Goals Ratification and Strike Authorization Votes

On Friday, February 26, 2010, voting concluded to ratify initial bargaining demands and authorize the bargaining committee to call a strike if circumstances warrant. The results are as follows:

Approve initial bargaining demands:
Yes: 99%
No: 1%

Authorize committee to call strike if circumstances justify:
Yes: 90%

No: 10%

These votes are the culmination of thousands of conversations with ASEs that have informed the bargaining committee’s preparation for negotiations. In the next several days we will be nailing down a meeting schedule with the UW’s negotiating team, and hope to engage in productive negotiations with them. Members will receive regular updates over email and on our website. At any time, please feel free to contact us if you’d like more information or want to be further involved.

In solidarity,
UAW 4121 Bargaining Committee