2 weeks left to turn up the heat with the housing survey!
Building on initial housing issues identified at last December’s membership meeting, our Housing Justice Working Group is organizing to ensure everyone has secure housing and a meaningful say in their housing conditions! As an initial step, the Housing Justice Workgroup has developed this survey
to gather members’ experiences.
The survey is open for two more weeks, and it’s critical for every Academic Student Employee and Postdoc to participate, even if you don’t live in Seattle. The more people who participate, the better we’ll be able to identify patterns of issues that are impacting members, and demonstrate that we’re unified behind the urgent need to address them. If you haven’t taken the survey yet, please take a few minutes now to participate! All questions are optional; email email@example.com if you have any questions.
This is also a great chance to connect with your peers to have meaningful conversations about housing, and how they relate to the support we deserve from our departments and UW. Fill out this short form to get involved in organizing around the housing survey, and a Housing Justice Working Group organizer will follow up with you!
Delay Is Not OK! Town Hall to Support UW Researcher Unionization
: Virtual Town Hall to support 1500 UW Research Scientists’ campaign to form a union, including discussion of the status of the campaign and what it will take to start bargaining with UW Administration.
: April 7th, 4-5pm
How to join
: RSVP here
to receive the zoom info.
As you know, in December, a majority of nearly 1500 Research Scientists/Engineers A-4s (RSEs) at UW filed a representation petition in order to be certified to join our union. A little over a month later, UW admin claimed that 272 of the RSEs who signed cards should be excluded from the bargaining unit, primarily on the claim that they are supervisors. Despite having the burden of proof to demonstrate why, admin has only produced substantial information from one department. In addition, they’ve even acknowledged that some of the challenged RSEs don’t have supervisory duties, but they continue to challenge them as supervisors anyways.
The longer admin raises these largely unsubstantiated challenges, the longer RSEs go without being able to bargain a fair contract. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time UW admin has delayed workers’ democratic choice to unionize. Postdocs weren’t certified until more than 7 months after filing our petition (and only after staging a sit-in in the University President’s office), and ASEs faced a delay of nearly two years. UW Librarians, IHME Professional Staff, and Residents have all faced similar stalling tactics.
It’s time to tell UW admin that delay is not okay. On April 7 from 4-5pm, Researchers are holding a virtual Town Hall with members of the UW community to talk about the campaign and how we can help speed the process, and your attendance is critical. Every ASE and Postdoc who attends in support helps build pressure on admin to recognize the union and start bargaining. Please RSVP today and encourage others in your department to join.
COVID Health & Safety
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the situation is constantly evolving. Governments, the CDC, and UW
are changing their response and prevention policies. As a reminder, we have strong protections in our contracts for issues such as health & safety, workload, paid training, and more (printable summary here: https://tiny.cc/4121KYR
). Note that both the Academic Student Employee and Postdoc contracts are clear that we cannot be required to work in conditions that pose an imminent threat to health and safety.
If you have questions or concerns about any aspect of your working conditions, fill out this short form and someone from the Contract Enforcement Working Group will follow up with you asap. You can also email Contract Enforcement directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, if you would like to get involved with the Return to Campus Workgroup, please email email@example.com or join the #return-to-campus-organizing channel on the ASE slack (open to all members).
Free U-PASS Extended to All UW Employees
Exciting news! On March 10, the UW Regents voted to approve a free U-PASS for all campus employees (including Professional Staff and Researchers)! This comes after a years-long campaign, detailed here
, led by a coalition of UW campus unions and community groups dedicated to providing affordable public transit for all. It also comes after years of ASEs and Postdocs organizing for and winning free U-PASS benefits in our contracts — through contract campaigns, coalition bargaining, direct action, arbitration, political action, and more. This month’s extension of U-PASS benefits to all employees is an incredible example of how our work can help advance common good issues and improve conditions for all!
Postdoc Childcare Fund Enrollment is Now Open
Postdoc caregivers: enrollment is now open for the Postdoc Childcare fund.
As part of our Postdoc collective bargaining agreement, our Caregiver fund helps support Postdoc caregivers. The Postdoc Family Friendly Working Group has finalized a reimbursement system for the $50,000 Postdocs. Disbursement of the 2022 fund will happen twice, in May and November. Please visit the UAW 4121 Caregiver fund website (https://www.uaw4121.org/childcare-fund/
) for enrollment and eligibility information and the disbursement calendar for 2022. The enrollment process has been updated this year to improve the enrollment responses.
Please fill out the enrollment form by April 18th, 2022 to be eligible to receive funds in May. Eligibility and amounts given will be need-based and determined after responses are collected. Email the Family Friendly Workgroup if you have any questions, or visit the caregiving fund website for more information: https://www.uaw4121.org/childcare-fund/
New Postdoc PI Task Force resource: Short Guide to PI Status
Last Fall, the Postdoc PI Status Task Force
surveyed Postdoc members on their experiences with applying for and administering grants with recognition as PI or co-PI. Forty Postdocs from across campus reported a diverse range of experiences.
The Task Force found that many Postdocs were unaware of the option to pursue external grant funding as PI or co-PI, or found the process to be confusing with significant hurdles to their application. A persistent theme in responses was that the process for seeking PI status is extremely variable across units, and this directly affects Postdocs’ abilities to receive recognition for grantwriting and to develop important professional skills.
In response to these concerns, the Postdoc PI Task Force has prepared a Short Guide to PI Status to improve transparency in policies across campus. If you are interested in learning more or joining the Postdoc PI Task Force, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Starbucks Workers Solidarity Rally: April 23 at 1pm
Exciting news this week from Starbucks Workers’ unionization drive: On Tuesday, Starbucks Partners at the Denny and Broadway location in Seattle voted unanimously in favor of their union! This is an incredible show of solidarity from Starbucks workers in Seattle, who have joined with others in a recent wave of unionization drives at Starbucks locations across the country.
However, Starbucks executives continue to engage in union busting — retaliating against organizers, cutting employee hours, and more — and the fight for unionization continues. Saturday, April 23 at 1pm at Cal Anderson Park, join Starbucks Workers, fellow UAW 4121 members, and many others in our broader community for a rally and march in solidarity with ongoing organizing efforts.
Tell Seattle City Council to Stop Wage Theft
Seattle must prioritize investigating and prosecuting wage theft rather than increasing funds in the Seattle Police Department. Workers in Seattle have lost as much as $3.4M in 2021 according to the Office of Labor Standards
. However, SPD is calling on the Seattle City Council to allocate more resources to target shoplifting and other retail theft. This strategy won’t work, we cannot simply arrest people out of poverty. Seattle can, however, invest resources to ensure workers receive their pay without employers illegally withholding wages. The Defend the Defund coalition (find out more on the Seattle Abolition Support newsletter)
has a template email to contact your city council member and call on them to stand with working people here: http://bit.ly/stop-wage-theft
Braeden Van Deynze