HELU Winter Summit
Higher Ed Labor United (HELU) is a national coalition representing all ranks of higher ed workers across the country — including student workers, postdocs, staff, and adjunct, contingent, and tenured faculty. Last summer, we joined together to create a bold, unified vision for higher education through the first HELU summit. The next HELU summit is NEXT WEEK from February 23-27. The summit will focus on three core tasks:
- coordinating the surge of higher education worker organizing across the country
- developing federal policy proposals to reverse the trends that have damaged higher education over the last several decades
- engaging in the political process by educating politicians & candidates on these issues & working to support those who will advance a program of democratizing higher education
To learn more and register, visit bit.ly/HELUsummit.
Housing Justice Survey Launching This Week
Housing Justice Survey: Please CLICK HERE to share your housing experiences!
We live in a region experiencing huge issues of housing insecurity, fueled by an all-too-common power imbalance between landlords and tenants. As ASEs and Postdocs who often must live close to the university, we continually experience these issues. For many members, UW administration is both our employer and our landlord – plus a major influence on housing rates and standards within the UDistrict and beyond.
To address these issues, members are organizing to ensure everyone has safe, accessible, and stable housing. As an initial action, our Housing Justice Workgroup is building power through collective action with this survey. The more people who participate, the more collective power we’ll have to identify patterns and demonstrate that issues are widely and urgently felt — please take a few minutes today to participate.
Our work on housing issues at UW is also coordinated within the broader context of organizing for housing justice among UAW Academic Workers along the West Coast. While some of our specific issues and contexts differ campus-to-campus, many of our fundamental issues and dynamics are the same. By amplifying each other’s work and continuing to build opportunities for strategic coordination, we can create even greater power to move our respective universities. For instance, as part of their ongoing contract campaigns, this week and next, Academic Workers at the University of California (UAW 2865, UAW 5810, and Student Researchers United-UAW) are rallying statewide to protest rent burden at UC, which over 90% of UC Academic Student Employees and over 70% UC Postdocs face.
For more information and to get involved with this ongoing work, email email@example.com!
The UW Resident Fellow Physician Union – Northwest (RFPU-NW) is currently bargaining a new contract. Their top issues are similar to issues we’ve raised in bargaining, including fair salary increases, measures to better ensure equity in recruitment, as well as increased measures for patient safety and safe staffing. Unfortunately & unsurprisingly, UW admin is refusing to agree to fair terms, and is currently proposing 0% wage increases
As part of working to build pressure to get admin to agree to a fair contract, RFPU is holding a short Unity Rally outside of their main worksites around Seattle on February 23. They were incredibly supportive of us during our contract campaigns last year, so let’s show our solidarity with them!
When: Feb. 23rd from 12:00-12:15pm
Where: Outside all resident training sites (UWMC-Montlake, Harborview, Seattle Children’s, & the VA).
RFPU has also asked folks to help by amplifying the rally on social media: (Instagram) (Facebook) (Twitter). You can also share our solidarity statement: (general link) (Twitter).
J-Waiver Fee Potentially Increasing
A proposed rule by the State Department would increase the J-Waiver fee 325%, from $120 to $510. Many J-1 visa holders, including many postdocs, are subject to a two-year home-country physical requirement, which means that they must return home for a minimum of two years before being eligible to apply for another U.S. visa. They must apply for the J-Waiver if they cannot return home for two years. The proposed rule that would increase the J-Waiver fee, among others, is open for public comment until February 28.
To read the proposed rule and submit your comment, visit the Federal Register and click the green button in the upper right corner.
Solidarity with Starbucks Workers!
Over the past several weeks, 4121 members have been coming together in solidarity with Starbucks Workers across the country who have been fighting to unionize — including at several locations in Seattle. Members joined with other union and community members for rallies on January 25th and February 15th. On February 8th, members gave public comment and help successfully pass a resolution through Seattle City Council in support of Starbucks Workers — making Seattle the first city to demand that Starbucks executives stop union-busting and recognize the union. And today, 4121 members joined with fellow union members in King County to meet with Starbucks Workers at the Roastery on Pike Street, where we discussed what our unions mean to us and why their fight for a union is so important. Check out and share our solidarity statement here!
Starbucks Workers have faced rampant union-busting tactics from Starbucks executives, including the recent retaliatory firing of the organizing committee at a Memphis location, now known as the Memphis 7. Now more than ever, it’s critical for union members across the country come together in solidarity with Starbucks workers, and build the kind of collective power needed to win this historic fight. You can help by sharing posts and info above, and by contributing to the fund to support the Memphis 7. In the coming weeks, be on the lookout for more opportunities to take action!
Braeden Van Deynze