RSVP to mass meeting 4/13, 12pm
Please RSVP to attend our April Mass Meeting which will be on zoom Thursday April 13th at noon. We will cover updates about both Postdoc and RSE bargaining, what we have won so far, what we are still fighting for, and what actions we are planning on taking in April and May in order to win a fair contract. Related, please hold April 24th at 1pm and May 11th at noon. There will be details shared at the Mass Meeting on April 13th. RSVP here.
Bargaining on Thursday, 4/6, was again conducted in the presence of a mediator, as requested by Admin. Last time, we had made several proposals to Admin to resolve the ongoing issue of wages and hours tracking, but this week Admin again refused to make any meaningful movement. They are maintaining their position that wages will not increase in accordance with the living wage salary threshold established under state law, nor will they agree to a fair and equitable process for overtime tracking, other than to allow individual supervisors to determine how and whether to approve overtime (leaving room for rampant abuse and wage theft).
In the meantime, we’re working on a counter proposal to address Admin’s stated concerns and reach agreement. It is clear at this point that management is unwilling to address our concerns regarding wages and hours tracking and is going to continue evading the law without a clear demonstration by Postdocs that this is unacceptable. Please get involved right now and RSVP for the 4/13 Mass Meeting!
Another development on this front is that UW President Ana Mari Cauce sent a memo to the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries declaring that Postdocs will be treated as though we are exempt from provisions of the Washington Minimum Wage Act that require employers to increase our salaries or implement overtime eligibility. This law very clearly specifies that “Learned Professionals” (a category that perfectly describes Postdocs) must be paid above the threshold to be overtime exempt, but UW is trying to claim that Postdocs are more similar to medical Residents, who are excluded. We agree with parts of this letter that state that Postdocs are vital to the research mission of the University and that hours tracking is rarely compatible with the nature of our work, but the way to resolve this is not to break the law — it is to pay us according to the minimum wage standards that we fall under. You can read this memo here.
This is especially frustrating coming so late in the bargaining process. PERC, the state labor board, has already issued a preliminary finding that UW likely violated the law in response to the Unfair Labor Practice charge we filed in February. And now in spite of that, Admin is doubling down and trying to evade the law and exclude Postdocs from the living wage standards these laws are meant to provide. As always, you can read the entirety of proposals from us and from Admin here.
Again, progress will only be possible when members make their voices heard. Please get involved right now and RSVP for the 4/13 Mass Meeting!
UWPU/UAW Bargaining Committee
Luci Baker, Mechanical Engineering
Rebecca Bluett, Biochemistry
Brant Bowers, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Tucker Burgin, Chemical Engineering
Pat Erickson, Institute for Protein Design
Jer Steeger, Philosophy