UAW 4121

Take Action for Higher Ed! Call Senator Murray

Over the summer, our union took part in the formation of Higher Ed Labor United (HELU), a nationwide coalition of unions organizing to address the longstanding crises in higher education caused by public disinvestment. Over 80 unions representing more than 400,000 higher ed workers have so far joined the coalition to build the power needed to win long-term, transformational changes.

For the next few days, higher ed workers have a chance to transform higher education by expanding tenure and increasing funding through the budget reconciliation legislation being considered by Congress. This is an important moment, and the legislator who needs to hear from workers is our own Senator Patty Murray. Senator Murray is the chair of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, which is writing the final version of the higher ed provisions in the budget reconciliation bill. Take action by doing the following:

  1. Please take some time today or tomorrow to call Sen. Murray’s office at 202-224-2621 and tell her the reconciliation bill should include these three priorities (you can use this guide to call, make sure to mention you live in WA State!):
    1. Require all institutions getting federal support to move towards 75 percent tenure stream instruction, starting by converting current adjuncts and NTTs to new tenure stream positions.
    2. Expand free tuition to include all two- and four-year public institutions.
    3. Require pay parity for remaining adjuncts and a living wage for all campus workers.
  2. Send a letter to Senator Padilla urging him to support these priorities using our Action Network portal.
  3. Sign the Higher Ed Labor United Pledge to Take Action for Higher Ed for All.

We’ve been told that we are close to winning tenure-track labor protections advanced by Higher Ed Labor United (HELU), the coalition of unions and organizations we helped to found in the summer. HELU has now been endorsed by 81 unions representing more than 460,000 higher ed workers. You can find out more about HELU by going to the coalition’s new website.

This is about protecting the academy and funding our futures, and the next few days are critical. Please call Senator Murray’s office at 202-224-2621 and tell her what we need for higher ed.

Use your Democracy Vouchers

Don’t forget to get your Democracy Vouchers in! Each city election cycle, Seattle voters receive four $25 dollar vouchers to give to the candidate of their choice. Democracy Vouchers are a public financing program that is innovating how campaigns finance their races and is critical for first time candidates and others without big money backers. Plus, voters who may not have the means to contribute can support candidates of their choice! WIN WIN.

Giving vouchers is easy! If you still have your vouchers, fill them out with your candidate of choice, sign them, and mail them back in the prepaid envelope. Not sure where they are or never got them? Use the online portal to request or assign your vouchers. Green card holders are eligible too! Check out which candidates are participating and still accepting vouchers online too. Hint: Some candidates, like Nikkita Oliver, have reached the voucher cap and cannot accept additional vouchers.

Welcoming a New UAW 4121 President

Our former President, David Parsons, has taken on a new role with our region of the UAW, including with our local. This means that, per our bylaws, our former Vice President Sam Sumpter has stepped into the role as President of our local chapter. Sam comes from the Philosophy Department and has worked as a TA and EPIC trainer, and they were elected as Vice President in 2019.

Elections for a new vice president will take place along with other fall vacancy elections, including department Stewards and Joint Council Positions. Be sure to stay tuned to future emails and attend the October membership meeting on October 14th for more details.

Help elect champions of working people to City Hall!

The November general election will be here before you know it! This year, we have the opportunity to elect pro-worker, pro-justice candidates in Seattle, King County, and across our region. City and County elections impact our daily lives, whether it’s access to affordable housing, public transportation, economic and racial justice, renter’s rights, and more, but it’s up to each of us to help get those messages out to voters. Join UAW members in volunteering to contact voters, labor siblings, and our fellow members! RSVP here. Interested in getting involved with political organizing? Email the Political Workgroup at

Snag some union merch!

Need some fresh union gear for fall?? Stop by the breezeway between the Social Work and Speech & Hearing Sciences Building (4131 15th Ave) between 3-6pm on Thursday, September 30th or Friday, October 1st to grab a free t-shirt, beanie, and stickers.

If you already have merch and have a baby or pet who has done a great job of modeling it, please send the comms team ( photos or tag us on social media! We would love to feature them in upcoming emails and posts.

Return to Campus Updates

As academic student workers, we have strong protections in our contract for issues such as health & safety, workload, paid training, and more. Though the contract we have fought for offers strong protections, it doesn’t enforce itself. Especially considering the ever-evolving context of the pandemic, complicated by a lack of clear policy communication from management, asserting our rights is dependent on our ability to support and organize with each other. 

This Know Your Rights handout includes a summary of your rights as an Academic Student Employee or Postdoc and ways to get support. If you have access to any university buildings and classrooms, please contribute to this crowdsourced spreadsheet of room information (e.g. # of windows, # of doors, visible air purifiers, max occupancy rating) by filling out this form.

Members are continuing to meet on an ongoing basis to discuss the University administration’s return to campus guidance and policies for Fall Quarter and make plans to ensure our rights to a healthy and safe workplace are upheld. If you are interested in joining these meetings (currently Mondays at 4-5pm) or staying connected to this work, please fill out your information here.

For more information about updated policies, resources, and your contractual rights — including health and safety, workload, appointment security, and more — check out the COVID Resource Center.

Seattle Needs Rent Control Now!

The housing crisis continues for us as students and workers, with Seattle rents increasing by 22% over the last 8 months. To stay in our homes and stand with renters everywhere, the Housing Justice Working Group is organizing UAW 4121 members to fight for rent control alongside Councilmember Kshama Sawant’s office. The Seattle renters movement has already won critical victories against evictions — let’s keep building our power to win rent control!

  1. Share our statement and sign the community petition
  2. Come to the Seattle Needs Rent Control Rally, 9/18 at 4PM in Cal Anderson Park.
  3. Organize for rent control with the Housing Justice Working Group by emailing

UAW Referendum – Update Your Address

If you didn’t receive this postcard, update your address by October 1st for an important upcoming UAW referendum! 

This October, there will be a UAW-wide vote on an important referendum, 1 Member 1 Vote (1M1V). 1M1V would change the way officers of the UAW International Executive Board (IEB) are elected, to a system where every UAW member votes directly for IEB officers. The vote will be conducted by mail-in ballot in October and November. You should have gotten a postcard about the vote a few weeks ago. If you didn’t receive your postcard, you likely need to update your address to ensure you get a ballot when they are mailed out in October. To ensure your address is updated, please fill out this form today! Alternately, if you’ve left UW and are no longer a member, please fill out this short form.

In Solidarity,

Douglas Avella-Castro
Amanda Clouser
Max Friedfeld
Kaelie Giffel
Vern Harner
Colleen Hoffman
Levin Kim
Brianne King
Kyle Kubler
Avi Matarasso
Erin Morgan
Emily Myers
Amal Nanavati
Anzela Niraula
Elena Pandres
Nayon Park
Marissa Parker
Shua Sanchez
Solmaz Shakerifard
Sam Sumpter
Samantha Thompson
Judy Twedt
Momona Yamagami
Christian Zimmermann