We met with the University’s bargaining team again yesterday and discussed our proposals on childcare, tuition/fee waivers, maintaining academic excellence and health insurance benefits. Our committee again emphasized how our proposals to make improvements for ASEs in these areas were aimed at strengthening quality and access at UW.
The University’s team still seems happy to echo our commitment to protecting access and quality at UW, but they continue to say very little about what substantive steps they will take to carry that out with regard to investing in Academic Student Employees. Instead, they repeatedly stated their uncertainty about the state budget cuts and tentatively agreed to respond to our proposals next week.
While we continue to be heartened that UW’s negotiators haven’t proposed takeaways, it remains to be seen what their negotiating team will do to deal with the unique bind ASEs face amidst stagnating wages and rapidly increasing tuition and fees. It’s also frustrating that UW still cannot provide any definitive assessment of when it will recover any of the millions of dollars overpaid to insurance companies for our health care plan over the last ten years.
To move the process of reaching a fair agreement forward, we clearly have to raise our voices more loudly to UW’s decision-makers away from the bargaining table about the need to prioritize investing in a core workforce like ours.
Unions and community organizations across Washington are calling on decision makers to put people first in the state budget plan by protesting against attacks on workers and state services. We are also making the case that investing in academic workers like us means protecting the quality of and access to higher education at UW.
Thanks for your support, and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any thoughts or questions.