UAW 4121

The Higher Ed Labor Movement is Heating Up!

University of California: On Monday November 14th, 48,000 UC academic workers from UAW 2865, UAW 5810, and UAW-SRU began an open-ended strike, in what is now the largest strike in US higher education history. The strike is now in week two, and pickets have been going strong every day, including solidarity actions from local labor unions to not cross picket lines. Academic Workers are fighting for fair contracts with compensation that’s enough to live on, and are striking in the midst of many unlawful practices by UC admin. On Day 2 of the strike, UC administration claimed they “didn’t have space” to hold a bargaining session and continue making progress toward a fair deal. Well… that’s a bit far-fetched–check out this response from workers on the picket line. To show solidarity across all units, we will be donating $2k to the UAW-UC Academic Workers Strike Support and Hardship Fund, and encourage you to make a contribution if you are able.

East Coast UAW Strikes: In addition to the UC academic workers, 250 members of the HarperCollins Union UAW 2110 went on strike on November 10th, as well as 1,600 part-time faculty with UAW 7902 at the New School who have been on strike since November 16th. To show solidarity with our union siblings, we will also be contributing $2k in strike support funds to both UAW 2110 and UAW 7902.

UW Libraries & Press Staff: Last Thursday, UW Libraries and Press staff of UW Libraries Union (UWLU) voted 94% to authorize a strike if needed in order to win a fair first contract. UWLU has been in bargaining for their first contract for more than a year, and has seen delay after delay from admin. You can contribute to their hardship fund here, and be on the lookout for more opportunities to support their efforts soon.

UW Postdocs & Research Scientists: And of course, here at UW, Postdocs and Research Scientists/Engineers A-4 (RSEs) are also in the middle of contract bargaining. Currently, RSEs are in the eleventh month of efforts to win a fair contract, and yet management continues to say there is “no end in sight” for negotiations – all while RSE compensation falls far behind market averages, and admin continues to delay scheduled merit increases. And for weeks, admin has been telling Postdocs that instead of raising wages to match livability standards reflected in Washington State overtime laws, they intended to convert Postdocs to titles that would require us to track our hours.

On Thursday, nearly 200 Postdocs, RSEs, and supporters turned out for a Mass Meeting to discuss how we can build power to get through these delay tactics and win fair contracts. And that collective action is already paying off. At Monday’s Postdoc bargaining session, admin made significant movement towards us with a compensation proposal that would no longer require hours tracking, and would instead move Postdoc minimum pay to $65,508. While there is still a long way to go to reach agreement on strong contracts for Postdocs and RSEs, this is a clear illustration of how collective action is directly linked to the wins that we can make on issues that are important to us.

Right now, we have an unprecedented opportunity to work together across Postdoc, Research Scientists/Engineer, and ASE units to demand better. At last week’s meeting, we discussed concrete strategies to seize this opportunity to build our collective power across units, including organizing for turnout for coordinated actions across all three units. Mark your calendars for the next Mass Meeting on December 15th (midday, specific time TBD). This will be a critical opportunity to join your colleagues and build the clear collective message that management must agree to fair contracts.

From coast to coast, higher ed workers are making it clear: we deserve universities that prioritize the students and workers who make them run. And in the face of university administrators who are out of touch with our living and working conditions, and who refuse to agree to reasonable contracts, academic workers across the country are taking collective action to demand better – including making difficult decisions to strike. The more we come together in solidarity across campuses, the better conditions we can secure for the future of higher education more broadly.

ASEs: Apply to be an EPIC Training Specialist!

Empowering Prevention and Inclusive Communities (EPIC) is hiring for two Academic Student Employee Training Specialist Positions! Each position is 50% FTE, approximately 20 hours per week, for all four quarters of the year (including summer). Apply on UW Hires (UW Requisition #215467) before the posting closes on December 4th!

The EPIC program is an innovative peer-to-peer harassment prevention training program jointly run between our union and the university, and is a major win from recent ASE and Postdoc contract campaigns. If you have questions, reach out to the current training specialists at

Take Action for Grocery Workers & Food Affordability

As you may have heard, recently Kroger and Albertsons – companies that include local grocery chains such as QFC, Fred Meyer, Albertsons, and Safeway – have announced their intentions to merge. If this merger is approved, it would likely result in the closure of hundreds of stores in the Seattle area, in turn spurring mass layoffs of grocery workers, higher grocery prices, and increased prevalence of food deserts. This would all be disastrous for working people generally, and in particular for low income communities and for grocery workers who have been at the frontlines throughout the pandemic. Meanwhile, the merger would only serve to enrich top executives and corporate shareholders.

Grocery workers with UFCW 3000 are spearheading an effort to block this merger, in coordination with several other UFCW locals and others representing grocery workers. You can help build visibility and momentum today, in a couple easy ways:

  1. Sign and share this community petition from UFCW 3000.
  2. Share our letter to the Federal Trade Commission, urging them to block the merger.

Indigenous Peoples Month (+ events)

We are occupying unceded ancestral lands of the Duwamish and Suquamish peoples, as well as the broader Coast Salish nations. They are a people who have stewarded this land since time immemorial and continue to uphold their traditions and culture today. This Indigenous Peoples Month, we can support the Duwamish peoples by paying rent at RealRentDuwamish and/or donating to the Duwamish Longhouse. Additionally, the Duwamish nation and Chinook nation are currently fighting for federal recognition. You can sign their petitions here and here and follow the Instagram accounts @realrentduwamish, @duwamishtribe, and @everydaychinook to stay in the loop. Other ways you can support include mutual aid (as many Indigenous communities are unhoused) and volunteering with the Duwamish River Community CoalitionHeron’s Nest, and the Na’ah Illahee Fund.
Events: The annual Native Art Market is happening at the Duwamish Longhouse 11/25-11/27 10AM-5PM (if you’re a Real Renter, pick up a Real Rent yard sign while there), you can sign up to volunteer for this here. And there is an online Native art auction happening 11/10-11/30 here. Finally, there is a mutual aid fair happening 11/29 4-8PM at the Cal Anderson Park Black Lives Memorial Garden with music, food, clothes, zines, and patches.

Transgender Day of Remembrance 11/20 (CW: murder, transphobia)

Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR), also known as the International Transgender Day of Remembrance, has been observed annually (from its inception) on November 20th as a day to memorialize those who have been murdered as a result of transphobia. On that day this year, at least 5 people were killed and 18 injured in a shooting at Club Q, an LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs. GoFundMe has posted a thread here of verified fundraisers to support those affected by this mass shooting. You can also donate to the Black Trans Travel Fund here, a Black trans-led collective rooted in self-advocacy and mutual aid for Black trans women globally with a
mission to provide travel support, connect communities internationally, and establish paths towards ​opportunities, safety, and success.

In Solidarity,
Justin Applegate
Lucia Baker
Ana Bennett
Rebecca Bluett
Erica Bigelow
Nick Bolten
Francesca Colonnese
Pat Erickson
Max Friedfeld
Colleen Hoffman
Soohyung Hur
Levin Kim
Brianne King
Avi Matarasso
Nicel Mohamed-Hinds
Emily Myers
Amal Nanavati
Anzela Niraula
Marissa Parker
Mara Rafferty
Tahiyat Rahman
Anastasia Schaadhart
Audrey Seo
Jer Steeger
Sam Sumpter
Samantha Thompson
Natalie Wellen
Tricia Wu
Yuying Xie