As the COVID-19 crisis has developed over the past months, it has created unprecedented challenges for Academic Student Employees, Postdocs, and our broader communities. It has also emphasized the urgent need for structural reforms we’ve long known are necessary for creating sustainable and equitable higher education system, both in the short and long term. Our International Solidarity Working Group initiated the fight to secure funding for those immediately facing funding concerns because of visa or travel complications, and at the April 8 membership meeting, members voted to take action on this issue by calling for appointment extensions for ASEs and Postdocs needing them.
Momentum is gathering around our urgent call to increase funding for higher education and research, including for international students and scholars, among the COVID-19 crisis! In April, we wrote to the Washington Congressional Delegation urging them to support additional funding for COVID relief for higher education, including funding for international students and scholars. In addition, over 2800 Academic Student Employees and Postdocs have now signed onto our petition calling for summer funding and year-long funding extensions for those who need it. We began impacts bargaining with University admin over these issues specifically in May, and continue to organize across UW as Summer Quarter approaches.
Our Appointments Working Group has been leading department-based organizing around these issues, and our efforts are already leading to success! In a number of departments, organizers have secured summer health insurance, stipends, and new RA-ships. In addition, many of those facing extreme needs due to visa issues have already secured reappointments.
If you have questions or would like to get involved with organizing in your department, please contact email@example.com.
ONGOING ACTION STEPS
- WRITE CONGRESS (2 MINS): Pushing for funding from the federal government to support students and workers in higher education is a critical component of our collective fight to secure funding for those who need it. Nearly 5000 union members from academic worker unions across the country have already sent letters — take a couple minutes today to join the effort!
- SIGN THE PETITION (1 MIN): In order to move administration during negotiations, it’s critical that as many ASEs and Postdocs are signed on — every voice helps!
- DEPARTMENT ORGANIZING: Working group members and other union organizers are coordinating organizing plans to call on department chairs to secure support for those needing it and express support for our demands. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more and get involved!
Past Action Steps
In March, we demanded to bargain with UW administration over the impacts of COVID-19 on our work as part of a powerful coalition of UW unions. On May 7, we held our first bargaining session, and you can find a summary here.
We meet weekly on Tuesdays at 2pm via Zoom — email email@example.com for information about how to join!