Big Win for International Scholars

The Biden Administration recently expanded eligibility for the STEM-OPT to include 22 new degree fields. This is a big win for international scholars, and has been a priority for our union as we fought hard for and won the STEM-OPT expansion in 2016, and beat back Trump-era policies that would have imposed restrictions on international scholars.

COVID Safety & the Return to Campus

Earlier this week (1/24), UW Admin announced that the university plans to largely return to in-person instruction on January 31. While case rates might be slightly declining, the spread of the pandemic remains significant, with transmission rates remaining high and hospitals, public schools, and more are still struggling. (For instance, as of Friday the 21st, the National Guard are providing support at Harborview Medical Center and 7 other hospitals.)

Our best ability to ensure healthy and safe working conditions for all comes from members across UW getting involved – join or contact the Return to Campus Workgroup to find out how you can help! And if you haven’t already, please take a minute to sign on in support of our union-wide grievances calling for safe working conditions. You can also find more info on our website.

Many members have had success at securing improved accommodations by organizing and/or making requests in their departments. For instance, many members have had requests to continue working remotely approved and/or been provided N95 (or equivalent) masks by their department/supervisor.

For more guidance, check out the info below, and contact the Contract Enforcement team right away if you have a request denied or need any additional support.

  • If you feel unsafe returning to in-person work and have not already had remote work approved, contact your supervisor as soon as possible to request remote work. You’ll find more important guidance and template emails here.
  • If you haven’t yet, you might consider joining the UW COVID study for access to free testing.
  • Similarly, if you haven’t been provided N95, KN95, KF94, or equivalent PPE from your department and you’re working in person, write to your supervisor to request it ASAP.

Starbucks Workers Solidarity Rally

On Tuesday (1/25), UAW 4121 members joined Starbucks Workers United, Socialist Alternative, Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, and many others in our community for a rally in solidarity with Starbucks workers fighting to unionize (including at 3 locations in Seattle!). It was a cold night but our hearts were warmed by the strong community support and worker power on display!

6 UAW4121 members standing in a line, holding picket signs that read: "Starbucks: union busting is disgusting"