Know Your Rights!

Through our hard-won contracts, UW Academic Student Employees (ASEs) and Postdocs have some of the strongest protections against discrimination and harassment in the country, including:

  • Protection against discrimination and harassment, including microaggressions, sexual harassment, hostile workplaces, and retaliation.
  • Robust complaint process for discrimination and harassment issues, including interim measures and union representation to support you during the course of a grievance. 
  • Guaranteed access to safe and comfortable all-gender restrooms.
  • Guaranteed access to safe and comfortable lactation stations.
  • No ASE or Postdoc can be required to work in conditions that pose an imminent threat to health and safety. 

Any ASE or Postdoc who has questions, concerns, or is experiencing issues with discrimination or harassment — no matter how small the issue may seem — please get in touch with the Contract Enforcement Working Group right away.


Past Wins

Through filing grievances and organizing, members have had great success enforcing our rights against harassment and discrimination, and winning structural changes in their departments. Below are just a few examples of this past work and victories:


Issue: A faculty member who led a 1000-person-per-quarter Computer Science intro course had a history of disrupting diversity lunches and listservs, and of aggressively contradicting people who pushed for greater commitment to underrepresented populations. In 2018 he wrote an article arguing that women are underrepresented in computer science because they aren’t that interested in it.

Action members took: Union members in the department worked with the Contract Enforcement Working Group to file a grievance, authored two op-eds, and circulated a petition among fellow members. 

Outcomes: The faculty member was removed from teaching the intro class the following quarter. The school implemented the EPIC training for faculty and staff (in addition to graduate and undergraduate Academic Student Employees and Postdocs). A committee of democratically-elected ASEs was established to regularly meet with Allen School leadership and make progress on: (1) conducting a school-wide Equity Survey and analyzing results from other relevant climate surveys; (2) constructively work on measures for assessing advisors’ mentorship; (3) discuss and implement protocols for better email listserv etiquette; (4) develop a process for TAs of all courses to provide (potentially anonymous) feedback about the curriculum, instructor, or other relevant aspects of the course they are TAing. With input from ASEs, a group of faculty reviewed the intro curriculum to ensure that it is inclusive of students from all backgrounds. 


Issue: A professor in pharmacology had repeatedly engaged in conduct that created a hostile and offensive work environment for academic workers in the department: He joked to women grad students about his pheromones, yelled at ASEs for correcting him in class, made racist jokes about grad student’s names, and used lecture slides that included jokes about the development of a new drug that made old men attractive to young women. Despite multiple complaints, he had not been subject to any corrective action by the University.

Action members took: Union members in the department worked with the Contract Enforcement Working Group to file a grievance, circulated a letter that nearly every ASE signed onto, and wrote an op-ed

OutcomesWithin three days upon filing the grievance, the TA in his class was excused from having the teach with him anymore, and for the rest of the term and was provided full pay with no loss of status. The faculty member no longer has lab space in the department, and was removed from teaching required classes and working with TAs. All faculty in the department received anti-harassment training. 


More info & get support

  • If you have any questions or concerns, please get in touch with the Contract Enforcement Working Group right away, either by emailing contractenforcement(at)uaw4121(dot)org or filling out this form. Someone from the working group will get back to you within 24 hours.
  • Resources