Tell Congress: Fund Government and Roll Back the Sequester!

As the new academic year begins we welcome nearly 700 new UAW Local 4121 members who accepted membership during their departmental orientations.  This year more new ASEs have accepted membership than ever before, helping to strengthen and diversify our growing union.

Unfortunately the start of the year is being marred by last night’s government shutdown, itself the result of efforts by some extremists in Congress to push for the defunding of critical government investments.  Publicly funded academic research continues to be a casualty of these efforts.

You can take action now by urging your Representative in Congress to keep Government open and roll back the Sequester cuts.

A shutdown and the continuation of the Sequester will impact NSF, NIH, DOE, and other agencies and services our communities rely on every day.  In the words of National Institutes of Health (NIH) Deputy Director Sally Rockey, speaking this week in San Francisco, a government shutdown means the NIH and other agencies will “basically go dark” just as new grants are to be funded.

Here is a partial summary of the impacts on research:

  • Money from NIH grants can be spent, but any problems/issues with grant spending requiring federal staff will not be addressed, potentially leading to funding delays.
  • Work may continue on National Science Foundation (NSF) awards, but no payments will be made to awardees.
  • Grants can be submitted via, but they will not be processed, and reviews of previously submitted grants will be delayed.
  • All nonessential staff at most federal institutions will not be working.
  • NIH will not able to take on any new patients, or begin any new clinical trials.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will cease disease surveillance.
  • Hotline calls to NIH concerning diseases will not be answered.

You can help.  Recently we’ve launched a new campaign – the Be A Catalyst campaign – to help members of Congress understand the important work we do and to motivate them to be catalysts for positive change.  Representative Jim McDermott has taken up the charge by circulating a letter in favor of strong public investment in science and other key programs (from affordable housing to student financial aid).  Take a moment now to send your members of Congress a message urging them to sign on to the letter.

We need to make our voices heard now.  Last night’s government shutdown was merely one step in a more extreme austerity agenda that looks to only get worse in the coming months.

If you or someone you know has been affected by the shutdown or the Sequester please let us know.

Thanks for your continued engagement, and don’t hesitate to let us know if you have questions.