Rally to Support UW Coalition of Unions on 9/22
We are in solidarity with our UW union colleagues with SEIU 925, WFSE, SEIU 1199NW, and WSNA! After months of negotiating their contracts with UW admin, admin is now proposing a two-tier furlough policy which will undermine job security, financial stability, and secure scheduling. This new system disproportionately targets BIPOC and immigrant workers, and is unacceptable.
The UW Coalition of Unions is pushing back to protect UW workers, many of whom are on the frontlines of the COVID pandemic. You can join and support this effort by signing this petition and by attending socially distanced Secure Staffing = Secure Care Solidarity Rally on Tuesday 9/22 at 12:30 near the Health Sciences Building. More details and RSVP here. Wear your UAW 4121 gear!
U of Michigan Strike Wins Movement on COVID & Policing
Last week, a number of workers at University of Michigan — including graduate workers with GEO 3550, residential staff, and dining employees — voted overwhelmingly to begin a strike to protect the health and safety of their colleagues and community at U-M. On Wednesday night, at a massive 1300-person membership meeting, GEO members voted to accept U-M’s second offer, ending the strike. Despite U-M’s attempts to break the strike by requesting an injunction against the union, filing an unfair labor practice, and intimidating strikers by emphasizing the illegality of the strike, GEO won on a number of fronts: childcare, support for international students, COVID testing protocols, meetings with Regents on public safety, and a policing task force that includes both GEO and Students of Color Liberation Front. These victories are an inspiring testament to the power that academic workers have when a majority takes action and has solidarity from workers and community members on campus. You can check out the solidarity statement we sent to our U-M colleagues last week here.
Your weekly activism reads:
International Solidarity Working Group
UW’s new guidance; Take action for Chinese scholars
As we wrote over the weekend, after consistent organizing led by our International Solidarity Working Group, UW administration has now sent out formal guidance to departments about non-US citizen ASEs conducting work from their home countries (without a visa). To our knowledge, admin has still not posted this guidance for international workers to easily access, but you can read full text of UW admin’s guidance here.
- International students: you should receive more detailed information from your department soon. If you don’t, or if you receive conflicting information from other sources, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- ASEs and Postdocs who aren’t international students: You can help by reaching out to international students in your department to share this guidance.
Also last week, the Trump administration announced that they had revoked the visas of more than 1,000 Chinese students and scholars. UAW-represented academic workers across the US immediately took action and are calling on our universities to take steps to protect international researchers. Please take a moment to sign this petition to our university administration to protect and support affected Chinese students and scholars.
For more information, please check out this weekend’s email or get in touch with the International Solidarity Working Group at email@example.com.
Anti-Discrimination Working Group
Board of Regents; Defund SPD; Get Involved
In the past week, UAW 4121 members have participated in a number of actions to pressure decision-makers at UW and in Seattle to take action to decriminalize our university and broader community. As a part of the Coalition to Decriminalize UW, we participated in a Board of Regents meeting to demand that UW administration take action on the Coalition’s critically needed demands. Additionally, our Political Workgroup sent this letter to Councilmember Lewis and Strauss on today to push them to override the Mayor’s veto of the revised 2020 budget. You can help by contacting your councilmembers (find yours here) about voting to override the veto using our template email. The deadline for the Seattle City Council to vote to override the veto is September 25th.
Our Anti-Discrimination Working Group continues meeting weekly to build both short- and long-term campaigns for racial justice and structural equity at the UW and beyond. We are developing anti-racist trainings for members, building research on best practices for DEI committees, developing department organizing strategies, and more. Fill out this form to get involved! Black ASEs and Postdocs are also encouraged to join our Black Caucus — email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info and to get involved.
Climate Justice Working Group
Wildfires, Climate, and Advocating for Change
The impacts of this historic wildfire season on communities in Washington, Oregon, and California have been significant. In one month, more than 5 million acres have burned, and West Coast cities have consistently placed among the cities with the worst air quality in the world. We’re all experiencing the impacts of this dangerous smoke, but not everyone is affected equally, and existing systemic inequities are exacerbated with each crisis, perpetuated by a long history of discriminatory and exclusionary policy and practices. As extreme events will only grow in intensity and frequency without rapid decarbonization, we need policies at all levels that center and prioritize those most burdened.
The Climate Justice Working Group is working to support a number of measures this year to advocate for climate justice, including:
- Advocating on behalf of the recommendations put forward by the Washington State Environmental Justice Task Force
- Participating on the Washington State Labor Council’s Just Transition Committee to advocate for creation of green jobs and infrastructure
- Working with the Climate Alliance for Jobs & Clean Energy on their Resilient Justice Platform
- And more!
To get involved with the Climate Justice Working Group, please email email@example.com.
Monica Cortés Viharo