We met again with the University’s bargaining team yesterday to continue negotiations for our fourth contract.  While we went into the meeting hoping to get substantive responses to and costing estimates on the proposals we gave UW last week, we received neither. In response to our proposals, they continue to cite the unresolved state budget process as a reason to refrain from making any movement towards agreement.

As we discussed our proposals on fee and tuition waivers, childcare, and academic excellence and the reasoning behind them, the UW team expressed “philosophical agreement” with the goals, but little willingness to act on them. In the case of our proposals to provide ASEs reimbursement for some childcare expenses, UW said they thought the program would be too costly, but they’ve been unable to provide information that would allow us to calculate an accurate costing of the proposal.

While we are keenly aware of the current budget situation, our proposals aim at helping UW keep up with peer institutions — most of whom are making improvements to ASE compensation despite budget constraints — and to maintain access and quality through the current crisis and into the future.  As we all know, ASEs have experienced a significant decline in overall compensation due to the combination of increases in mandatory out-of-pocket tuition/fees and recent salary freezes.  Our proposals also aim to make UW a more family-friendly workplace, which will increase access for women to enter into the academic workforce.

On health insurance, UW said that it would be at least another week before they could provide costing estimates of our proposal.  More significantly, we learned that the University has now filed a lawsuit aimed at recovering the money it overpaid to the insurance company that we discovered last year.  However, we were appalled to learn that the University has withheld significant documentation that they could have provided to us last year — a 63 page complaint outlining the original basis of their dispute with their health care broker.  When we asked the University’s team why they had not provided us this documentation, they said that they had never seen it either! This type of conduct only gets in the way of reaching a fair agreement by April 30th.

With our contract expiration less than a month away, it’s clearly time to move the University to be proactive and respond to our proposals.

Participate in our action tomorrow! RSVP here now!

Get in touch with us if you have more specific questions or would like to talk to someone on the bargaining committee. We’ll be happy to chat some more.

In the meantime, bring your friends to the action tomorrow and remind the University and the state of the importance of investing in critical workforces like ours!

– UAW Local 4121 Bargaining Committee