April 6, 2017

Today members of our bargaining committee and other UAW members – including individuals from countries named in the Trump travel ban – met with four representatives from the UW Administration (Office of Labor Relations, Office of the Attorney General, The Graduate School, and Office of Global Affairs) and presented our initial bargaining goals.  We shared stories of how the executive orders have impacted people, discussing how family visitation (in other countries or to the U.S.) and academic research have been disrupted, and how these travel delays create pressures and delays in complete coursework, research, and people’s mental and emotional health.  Health insurance and coverage are not necessarily adequate to support people dealing with these impacts  We also communicated surprise and concern that the University administration had thus far not gotten in touch with individuals affected by the ban, choosing instead to send general campus-wide emails rather than offers of individual support and accommodation.  The goals we formulated were done so having incorporated experiences of members, and with the purpose of ensuring that we use the collective bargaining process to create concrete ways of offering support through our collective bargaining agreement.

UW responded that they shared our concerns and believed that we were all on the same side in this issue.  They referenced University resources that are available to international students (and sent follow-up materials – see below) and indicated that they either believed they already did or intended to follow through on many of the items we included in our goals.  For example, UW has already been in touch with Universities in Canada like Simon Frazier, to ensure that credit transfers go smoothly when necessary and in fact that students impacted by the ban can receive UW degrees while completing course work in Canada.  On the other hand, UW said that destruction of documents would be a very difficult thing to accomplish, though they understood the principle behind our stated bargaining goal.

One significant piece of news is that the University intends to eliminate the international student fee and is likely to announce in the coming weeks.  UW representatives noted that advocacy by the UAW for several years had “finally paid off.”  While at this time it’s not clear whether the fee will be eliminated for all students or just graduate students – we reiterated our long standing position that it should be eliminated for everyone.

As for a timeline to respond with more specifics to our proposals, UW was at first non-committal but did then say they could get us at least a preliminary response on some of our items within two weeks.

We reiterated the urgency of these issues, particularly with regard to summer appointments for international students whose travel restrictions meant they were unable to return home but also could not work anywhere off campus due to visa restrictions.  It clearly will be important that we continue to mobilize to ensure that the University’s proposed response timeframe is met.

Additional Resources:

After our bargaining meeting, the University provided us with the following:

  • From the Washington State Attorney General’s Office – A Guidance Page on Immigration in Washington
  • At UW Tacoma: a workshop on OPT/CPT Friday, April 7th

From the Office of Global Affairs: Information for International Students Traveling Abroad:

The Office of Global Affairs and Global Operations Support are available to you as a central service to help facilitate your success abroad. My mission is to help facilitate your success by fostering safe travel for all of our students staff travelling abroad. To that end, here are some ways to get plugged in or seek assistance while abroad:

  • Register your international travel by emailing your itinerary to travelregistry@uw.edu. There is no longer a need to complete a profile. You can forward your itinerary to us in any format. All we need is the traveler’s name, email address, and dates and location of travel.
  • Call the UW’s 24/7 global emergency support number if you are in need of emergency assistance abroad: 206-632-0153
  • We can provide support 7 days a week. If you are in need of assistance please email travelemergency@uw.edu
  • If you would like to consult our Global Travel Security Manager about your travels prior to departure please contact him at travelemergency@uw.edu
  • Students can purchase the student abroad insurance by visiting: http://www.washington.edu/globalaffairs/global-travelers/global-insurance/insurance/

As you travel, please remember the following:

  • When possible always call local emergency services first if you are in need of immediate emergency assistance.
  • Carry government-issued identification with you at all times.
  • Follow directives of local authorities, U.S. Embassy and UW.
  • Maintain regular contact with loved ones.
  • Contact the UW Travel Emergency email (travelemergency@uw.edu) if you have any questions or concerns.

Other resources for UW travelers abroad:
On-Call International
U.S. Department of State
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

As a reminder, all UW Travelers travelling abroad for UW academics or business have global travel assistance through On Call International. You can contact On Call at any time if you need evacuation or security assistance. Regional security analysts are available to answer questions and provide guidance. Tel.: +1 603-328-1358

The safety and well-being of UW travelers abroad is of the utmost importance to us. If you have concerns or feel unsafe for any reason, please do not hesitate to contact travelemergency@uw.edu.