Yesterday, University administration failed to meet the demands of UAW 4121 members for a fair and equitable contract that provides protections and crucial compensations for the 4,500 graduate and undergraduate TAs, RAs, Readers, Graders, and Tutors across UW on the last day of our contract. We are writing to continue to provide additional information to ensure that everyone is fully aware of what’s happening.
We ARE continuing to bargain — our next session is May 8. People have asked if they will continue to be paid while we continue to bargain. The answer is yes. We will continue to send updates as they arise.
Following the bargaining session last night, the bargaining committee met with hundreds of ASEs to discuss the University’s proposal and began to make plans for a one-day strike if we have not reached a fair settlement on May 15.
Here’s how you can help:
- If you haven’t already, please vote on the straw poll now!
- Please also sign up for the strike preparation committee, the communications committee, or the direct action committee by filling out this short form!
- Finally, please talk with your colleagues about getting involved! In the coming days, expect to hear from your stewards, bargaining committee members, and other activists about making a solid plan for winning a strong contract.
You can find more information about the current status of negotiations below, and as always please contact your steward or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Yesterday, the University shared their last, best, and final proposal only after 400 union members were escorted out of the bargaining meeting by police. However, this proposal is at best weak and insulting and disregards the extensive work the bargaining committee has been doing toward a fair and equitable contract.
The Administration proposed a three-year contract, with the following provisions:
- 2% wage increases per year (half the estimated cost of living increase in Seattle);
- Freezing fee waivers at current values, so that if fees are increased we have to pay the difference, negating the miniscule wage increase.
- Rejected our proposed changes to the healthcare plan that would provide comprehensive coverage for trans members;
- Rejected full coverage of mental health services at in-network providers;
- Maintaining the total funds shared among all ASE parents for childcare at $45,000 despite the fact that this amount was maxxed out this year, leaving ASE parents without support
- While they agreed to offering sexual harassment trainings, their proposal on equity committees fails to include the measures that we’ve proposed which would make them effective and accountable.
Members who attended bargaining unanimously rejected this proposal, saying it did not meet the needs and demands of the membership.
Here is our latest proposal:
- 3% wage increase and a full fee waiver, together making an effective 8% compensation increase
- Updating our healthcare plans to be non-discriminatory and fully trans-inclusive
- 100% coverage for in-network mental health providers;
- Increasing the childcare cap to $60,000 for all ASE parents to share;
- University-wide equity surveys that would be jointly developed and circulated by the Union and the University, the results of which would be discussed and strategized in departmental town halls.
This proposal is for be a one-year contract, so that we can continue to mobilize and bargain on all terms, including paid family leave once the final rules for the state statute on paid family and medical leave is in place in a year. We have communicated to Admin that in many ways we would prefer a 3-year contract, but cannot agree to one that does not include fairer compensation and benefits than their current proposal.
For the full text of both our proposals and UW Administration’s proposals, you can check out our website.
Obviously, we do not want to be working under an extended contract; that’s why hundreds of ASEs have put in countless hours over the last three months mobilizing other members and bargaining with the university to win a fair contract by April 30th. However, as we plan our next actions (including but not limited to May 15th) we will continue to bargain with the university to reach fair and equitable terms. Our question to the membership is, will you accept the UW’s proposal or will you work with other UW academic student employees to fight for a better contract? Again, if you haven’t already, please vote on the straw poll now!
Monica Cortes Viharo