Bargaining came to a dramatic halt tonight. About 400 ASEs turned out for today’s bargaining session to show unity in demanding a fair and equitable contract. In response, the university administration barred the building doors to prevent more members from entering and had the UW Police escort our members out the building. Members regrouped in Sieg Hall for a larger discussion around next steps and contract terms as well as next steps regarding a potential strike.
Not fifteen minutes following that mass exodus, the university administration re-entered the bargaining room and submitted their “last, best, and final” proposal. They proposed only a 2% pay increase per year for the next three years, and made no improvements in mental health services, trans-inclusive healthcare, childcare subsidies, or anti-harassment trainings. Most unexpectedly, they proposed freezing fee waivers at current values, so that in the future if fees are increased we have to pay the difference. Based on our bargaining survey and the needs of our members, we need at least a 3% compensation increase just to keep up with cost of living increases, so this final proposal is effectively a pay cut and invalidates other critical needs of our members.
This followed actions and numerous expressions of solidarity throughout the day (see our website for more). At our post-bargaining meeting at Sieg tonight, the bargaining committee and over 100 members unanimously agreed to reject this proposal.
Of course, most of our members weren’t present at this meeting, and we need to know what you think by voting in this straw poll.
Monica Cortes Viharo