This is a reminder to vote in the ratification vote before 5pm Sunday, even if you voted in the straw poll. If you did not receive a ratification ballot via email please email firstname.lastname@example.org. A ratification vote is the formal mechanism with which members accept or reject the contract. We recognize there are strong opinions both ways, and encourage debate and discussion. We also reiterate our recommendation that members vote to accept this offer. In what follows please find some of the reasons why we are making this recommendation. Further below, you can also find a letter from 4121 members who are encouraging a no vote.
First, it has come to our attention that members may be under the impression that we had no choice but to recommend UW’s last, best, and final offer. To be clear, this is not true. After vigorous debate, the bargaining committee voted 12-4 in favor of recommending this deal to the membership, and all who recommended acceptance did so sincerely.
Second, we want to be clear that our recommendation is not an acceptance of the Administration’s bullying tactics, nor does it mean that we should or will stop fighting, nor does it mean we think it’s a fantastic contract that achieves what we have all been fighting to for at UW. While striking is an important source of power, it is not our only source of power nor is it our only option for affecting change on critical issues like fee waivers.
There are a number of direct action, organizing, community, and legislative campaigns we can engage in — some of which are already actively underway and that we can and should support, such as:
- Working in solidarity with other unionized employees to push for a fully subsidized U-PASS;
- Strategizing direct actions with other students to get fees reduced/eliminated for everyone
- Working with the SAF Committee and legislative channels to get the SAF reduced/eliminated for everyone
Third, a strike will only be effective at getting us a better offer if it’s a strong strike. Voting no in this ratification vote means not only that you are rejecting the University’s offer, but that you are unwaveringly committed to striking and organizing others to do so. A strike committee comprised of UAW 4121 members has for weeks made preparations to provide infrastructure support in the event of a strike. However, the strength of the strike will depend on participation by members. So far, a significant number of ASEs have not signed up for picket shifts, and a weak strike could not only imperil our ability to win a strong contract now, but also strong contracts — and any other fights we wage — in the future.
On a separate note, we’ve also become aware that mass texts have been sent to members, raising privacy concerns. This is not an official union text, and we are doing our best to investigate how people’s information was aggregated. We take this very seriously, and if you have any information, please let us know at email@example.com.
As always, please continue to send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org or come to office hours today from 10am-5pm at the Local Office (2633 Eastlake Ave E, Suite 200).
UAW 4121 Bargaining Committee
Monica Cortes Viharo
Kristin J McCowan
Letter Urging No Vote:
To the rank and file of UAW 4121:
Fellow ASEs, as you consider whether or not to ratify the contract offer this weekend, we are urging you to reject the offer and go on strike beginning on Monday. UW’s last, “best,” and final offer is insulting. The offer shows us that UW doesn’t value our work at all. If we fold and accept this pathetic offer, then we are all at risk—some of us more so than others. We need to think about what accepting this offer means to our fellow ASEs, to the other workers at UW, and to future ASEs. What kind of legacy will we leave if we give up now? A legacy where only the independently wealthy can obtain graduate degrees? A legacy where women, immigrants, BIPOC, and working class people are shut out of higher education? We reject that legacy and that’s why we urge our union to reject the current contract offer.
We are voting NO on the university’s extortionary, shameful, and dishonest deal. We say:
NO to intimidation emails and extortionary bargaining tactics.
NO to a contract that doesn’t keep pace with the cost of living.
NO to a university that undervalues its workers, effectively transforming this campus into a privileged playground for the rich.
We understand that the Bargaining Committee worked hard to secure the concessions we received. But it’s simply not enough. Bargaining has been ineffective because the university doesn’t think we have the guts to paralyze this campus. Well, we’re here to say, we do have the guts, and we’re ready to fight until we win. We’re ready to escalate our direct actions until we receive the deal we deserve.
Withholding our labor is the most powerful thing we can do as workers. We don’t have the money or the political power that UW has. We can’t compel UW to pay us fairly through contract negotiations. But we can STRIKE, disrupting exams, grades, and campus activities in the next two weeks. Only by having a full work stoppage can we demonstrate to UW how critical we are to this academic community.
Our membership is ready to fight! Rank and file picket captains made the call to form a Strike Committee, tripling our size. If we step up and take ownership over this strike, we can actively discuss tactics at every turn, building the power through our 4,500 members.