April 5, 2018

Hundreds of Academic Student Employees show up to demand an end to sexual harassment and discrimination at the University of Washington

Seattle, WA – Yesterday, hundreds of Academic Student Employees at the University of Washington attended contract negotiations to press the university to respond to demands for greater equity and an end to sexual harassment. The University Administration had previously agreed to resolve such bargaining proposals by April 5, but has since indicated it may not be willing to reach agreement by this date.

Elected leaders Nicole Macri (43rd LD), Kshama Sawant (Seattle City Council) were in attendance and City Council Member Teresa Mosqueda wrote a statement of support.

“I was one of the hundreds of Research Assistants and Teaching Assistants who showed up to bargaining and spoke out because we need to be heard,” said Alaina Green, graduate employee in Physics and member of UAW Local 4121. “We are asking for greater accountability and more tools and support to stop sexual harassment and protect those who come forward to report it. The University needs to act, and it can start by accepting our proposals to make meaningful change.”

“Too many grad workers encounter discrimination and harassment at work, and it’s not really a secret. I’ve been shocked to see that the UW Administration hasn’t jumped at the opportunity to take this issue seriously and accept our commonsense proposals,” said Mandy McCourt, a graduate student employee and bargaining committee member for UAW Local 4121.

For the past 2 months, UAW Local 4121, the union of Academic Student Employees at the University of Washington, has been in bargaining for a new contract. Specifically, the ASEs have proposed contract provisions that would provide for joint development of peer-led sexual harassment orientations; the establishment of stronger interim and anti-retaliation measures to better protect those who wish to report discrimination and harassment; department-based equity committees so students, faculty and staff can work together throughout the year to address department climate issues; and investment by the University Administration for a peer staffing plan to ensure that anti-discrimination programs can be sustainable.

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