Wednesday was a momentous day for Seattle’s workers as the first phase of the minimum wage increase was enacted. While workers city-wide celebrated the increase and Seattle again took the national spotlight, UAW 4121 continued our efforts to ensure that every worker city-wide experiences the increase. On campus we took action with other workers and students to demand UW fully comply with the law. We then – amidst cheers and shouts from the gathered crowd – marched into bargaining to present our demand that all workers on campus be paid at least $15/hour.
The University stated in bargaining that it is currently willing to raise the minimum hourly wage for ASEs to $11.00; however they did not commit to raise the minimum for all hourly student workers. We also proposed an increase to the graduate base rate to win the salary competition among the Global Challenge Institutions, as well as commensurate percentage increases for variable rates and hourly rates above the minimum. In addition we proposed a full waiver of campus-wide fees for all ASEs. We impressed that these proposals were designed to ease costs of living increases and ensure that UW would be better positioned to recruit the best and brightest to come here.
Finally we presented our demand to improve the health plan, including benefit improvements and an overhaul to the administration of the plan that makes it more transparent to members and ensures the Union can play a more central role as advocates.
We impressed upon the University the urgent need for responses on all of our proposals as the contract expires in 30 days. We let the University know that the pressure will not let up until our contract is settled fairly.
Our next bargaining session is today, from 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m. in Condon 311. Join us!