Welcome to our new UAW4121 members! 

RSEs: Membership

This will be the last weekly update that will be sent to all Research Scientists. After today, information will only be distributed to members. Please take two minutes and fill out the membership form today. 


For RSEs: Exempt Employees Do NOT Need To Track Hours

Earlier this month, UW erroneously sent out a Workday alert to Exempt RSEs indicating they would need to track time and enter their hours in Workday. This was a mistake – unfortunately, they have not reached out to Departmental Admin staff to confirm the error, which is creating confusion. To be clear: overtime-exempt employees do NOT need to track their hours, or enter them on Workday. If your Supervisor or Department Admin is asking you to do so, please have them get in touch with laborrel@uw.edu for clarification. You can also reach out to contractenforcement@uaw4121.org for help.

Postdocs: Submit your OPT or J-1 visa fees 

Under our new collective bargaining agreement, the University must pay for J-1 visa request fees and amendment fees and reimburse Postdocs for J-1 SEVIS I-901 fees and OPT I-765 filing fees. If you are a Postdoc on OPT or a J-1 visa, please submit receipts for the fees you paid using this form. This will help make sure you are getting reimbursed for these fees if you’re eligible.  

Postdocs: Enroll now in the UAW 4121 Caregiver Fund (DEADLINE TODAY)

As part of our collective bargaining agreement, our Postdoc Union has established a caregiver support fund to provide aid to Postdoc caregivers. The enrollment period for this fund ends on Sept 29th. Please review the enrollment eligibility and enroll to receive funds here by that deadline. If you’ve enrolled in the past, no further action is needed unless you would like to make changes. If you have any questions, you can always email the Family Friendly Working Group. 

Thanks to our collective action during bargaining earlier this year, we won a significant increase to the caregiver fund in our new contract, up to $75,000 for 2023 and 2024. If you’d like to get more involved with the Family Friendly workgroup and help improve this fund, please email the Family Friendly Working Group at familyfriendly@uaw4121.org. 

Please submit responses by Sept 29th, 2023. You will hear back from the Family Friendly workgroup by Sept 30th, 2023.

ASEs: Add your voice: the ASE 2024 Contract Bargaining Survey is now open!

All ASE members, take the bargaining survey today! In early 2024, ASEs will begin negotiating a new contract with the University of Washington. Building a strong, representative bargaining agenda takes all of us coming together throughout the year, starting with this bargaining survey to determine our collective priorities on issues including wages, fee waivers, career development, anti-discrimination, and more. The bargaining survey is open to all members – take 5 minutes to complete the survey today

ASEs: Beware the GAIP Gap!

Sometimes departments don’t get you on payroll quickly enough to have your Graduate Employee Insurance Program (GAIP) activated on October 1. If you are covered on GAIP, any care you receive will be retroactively covered, however you may encounter issues filling prescriptions, etc. You can call the Benefits Office at 206-543-4444 or 206-685-3188 for assistance or you can call Lifewise at 800-971-1491 to see if they can issue you a temporary or electronic insurance card. You may also reach out to asehealthcare@uaw4121.org if you want to report this issue. 

Applications Open: Membership Organizing Staff 

Applications are open now until September 30th for up to three part or full time Field Organizers dedicated to membership outreach, engagement, and office administration. These positions will support the ongoing work of the Local to build our collective power and advocate for fair working conditions, a stronger and more accessible higher education system, and social justice in our community and beyond. Learn more here

RSEs and Postdocs: Applications Open: Become an EPIC Trainer

Members from all three 4121 units (Academic Student Employees, Postdocs, and Research Scientists/Engineers A-4) have the opportunity to participate in and become peer trainers for the Empowering Prevention and Inclusive Communities (EPIC) program. This is a great opportunity for anyone interested in empowering their colleagues to create a safer, more equitable environment at UW. These paid part-time positions are now posted and open to applicants.

Upcoming Local 4121 Meetings, Events, Trainings 

Student Worker, Postdoc, and Researcher Monthly Meeting

At the September Monthly Membership Meeting, UAW 4121 members reviewed proposed revisions to the bylaws to incorporate our newest unit of employees, Research Scientists and Engineers, A-4 into our Local. Members in attendance voted to send the proposed changes to the Bylaws Committee to review for consistency with existing bylaws and the UAW International Constitution. During our October monthly membership meeting, the Bylaws Committee will share the finalized revisions for members to vote on. If you have questions, suggestions, or would like to join the Bylaws Committee, please email bylaws@uaw4121.org.

If you’d like to put a hold on your calendar for our monthly membership meetings, they are the 2nd Thursday of the month at 5pm. Our next meeting is October 12th at 5pm on Zoom. 

Sewlidarity Circle: 

There is going to be a crafting event on Seattle main campus Saturday September 30th 1-5PM in Allen Library 187 Grand Conference Room! The plan is to bring/work on any sewing/crafting projects, socialize, and potentially watch a movie! 

Beyond UW 

Labor Actions in Higher Ed & Beyond

Graduate student workers at Northeastern University won their union (GENU-UAW) in a 94% #UnionYes vote last week! 4121 members can follow their fellow unionized huskies’ progress in bargaining their first contract at @nugradunion on social media or by visiting the GENU-UAW website.  

Solidarity & Political Actions

  • UW Progressive Student Union is hosting a rally October 5th at 6PM on the steps of Suzzallo to increase diversity on campus. 
  • Bayan, International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, Malaya, and other organizations supporting the national democratic movement in the Philippines are hosting an international labor organizer from the Philippines, Ka Bong, on September 30th and October 1 (schedule and RSVP). 
  • September 30 is “Orange Shirt Day,” a day to protest in solidarity with First Nations Tribes to honor & remember indigenous children who have been stolen from their families by First Nations Residential & United States Boarding Schools initiated by the Canadian & United States governments. There is a peaceful march at 12:30PM from Henry M. Jackson federal building (915 2nd Ave, Seattle) to Westlake Center Park, with a rally at 1:30PM at Westlake Center Park
  • There will be a talk about the call to Block Cop City with Atlanta-based organizers on October 1st 5PM at Pipsqueak (173 16th Ave). 

Big 3 Strike Ongoing

Our UAW siblings in the auto industry are now on day 14 of a historic stand-up strike with Locals across all of the Big 3 (Stellantis, GM, and Ford) striking simultaneously for the first time in history. Our union siblings joined us on the picket lines earlier this summer and it’s now time to show up for them. This week, 4121 members joined our Local 492 automaker siblings in Portland, OR on the picket lines on Saturday (9/23), Monday (9/25), and Tuesday (9/26). 

Interested in joining the picket lines in Portland with fellow 4121 members? Sign up to coordinate transportation! You can also follow Local 492’s Facebook page for more photos, videos, and news about the strike.

Alt text: three smiling UAW members wearing ponchos on Local 492’s picket line

Rainy Pacific Northwest weather couldn’t dampen the spirits of those on the picket line! 

Three UAW members hold signs that say “UAW on strike” or “UAW.” One person is in an inflatable T-Rex costume, and the other two are raising their fists in solidarity

Two members of Local 492 and UAW regional representative David Parsons on the picket line

A person in an inflatable T-Rex costume waves the UAW flag in one hand and a UAW sign in another. Other people hold picket signs and another member waves the US flag

Local 4121 President Levin Kim (middle) on the picket line with Local 492’s resident dinosaur

In Solidarity, 

Justin Applegate
Lucia Baker
Erica Bigelow
Rebecca Bluett
Francesca Colonnese
Pat Erickson
Max Friedfeld
Colleen Hoffman
Soohyung Hur
Levin Kim
Brianne King
Avi Matarasso
Nicel Mohamed-Hinds
Anzela Niraula
Marissa Parker
Mara Rafferty
Tahiyat Rahman
Anastasia Schaadhardt
Audrey Seo
Jer Steeger
Samantha Thompson
Natalie Wellen
Tricia Wu
Yuying Xie

The communications team sends out emails on approximately a weekly basis to all members. Generally, these emails will share information to keep you in the loop about union happenings, the labor movement in Washington state and higher ed, and actions we can take to build worker power. If you’re interested in getting involved with the communications working group on an ongoing basis, please reach out to comms@uaw4121.org