Local 4121 Announcements

Nominations Open for Vacant Steward and Executive Committee Positions
Nominations for all vacant positions in UAW 4121 are open! There are several vacant positions for ASE/Postdoc/RSE departmental stewards and for Executive Committee Positions. This is an opportunity to take a leadership position in your department and in our union.

Nominations will be open from Wednesday, Feb. 21 at 9am and will close on Sunday, Feb. 25 at 5pm. You do not have to be nominated by someone else–to run for the position, you simply have to accept your automatic nomination! Please fill out this google form to accept nomination for one position only. You can find more information about eligibility requirements for each position here.

Local 4121 Meetings, Trainings, and Working Group Updates

Monthly Membership Meeting
Our monthly membership meetings are on the 2nd Thursday of the month at 5 pm. Please mark your calendars, our next meeting is March 14th at 5 pm on Zoom.

Recent changes to the MFTE Program are negatively impacting ASEs
The Housing Justice Working Group has drafted a letter addressing the 2023 Affordable Housing Incentive Program’s changes to the Multifamily Property Tax Exemption (MFTE) Program and its negative impact on graduate student ASEs in Seattle. The new requirement for need-based financial aid unfairly excludes graduate students who rely on assistantships and fellowships for income, despite their urgent need for affordable housing. The Housing Justice Working Group proposes changes to this policy that would allow all graduate student ASEs with incomes within the qualifying range to continue to benefit from MFTE housing. Please sign on to this letter to demand Seattle Office of Housing rectify this!

Family Friendly Working Group Update
The backup care benefit provides care for the children of RSEs and ASEs when regular childcare arrangements are not available. Last year, RSEs and ASEs received 5 days per year with Bright Horizons and 10 days with Kindercare. This year, UW discontinued the program with Kindercare, functionally reducing the number of backup care days available to RSEs to 5 only days per year. If this affects you, please contact familyfriendly@uaw4121.org with the subject ‘Backup Care’ and find out how you can be involved with this issue.

ASE Bargaining Updates

Our Next ASE Bargaining Session is on February 27!
Our collective voice is crucial as we navigate negotiations for our next contract with the UW administration. As Academic Student Employees (ASEs), our current contract expires on April 30th, 2024, highlighting the urgency for us to stand united to secure fair wages and benefits that reflect the high cost of living in Seattle on this upcoming contract.

Tuesday, 2/27/24 marks the beginning of our third bargaining session, where we will tackle important components of the new proposals, such as workplace equity, wages, and healthcare. With high membership participation, we can better ensure that our rights are upheld and that we achieve meaningful improvements in our working conditions.

Therefore, we invite all ASE UAW members to RSVP here to join us virtually for the second bargaining session on Tuesday, February 27th. This session will be held virtually all day, and is open to all ASE members in good standing to attend. By attending these bargaining sessions, we can demonstrate to UW our willingness to stand together to uphold our rights and secure a contract that reflects the needs and concerns of all UW ASEs.

ASE Membership Mobilization Recap and Upcoming Events
We’ve wrapped up two successful membership drive campaigns this February—the Membership-a-looza: Bargaining Power Blitz events on 2/8 and on 2/15! With approximately 80 ASE union members attending these sessions, we were able to secure over 50 new membership cards in just a few hours during each on-the-ground campaign. As our bargaining efforts with UW admin continue, we’re thrilled to see our collective strength growing.

Building our membership isn’t just crucial for ongoing ASE bargaining; it’s also an opportunity for us to hone our talking points and networking skills. As we keep talking with others about our union and building trust and personal connections, we will keep building the membership needed to win our initial bargaining demands and secure a strong contract. With each conversation, we’re laying the groundwork for a strong, unified movement.

To maintain this momentum, Mobilization Madness: Little Fires Everywhere will take place at the end of this month. Join us Thursday, February 29 at 5:30–6:30pm on campus (exact location TBA). Come ready to strategize around mobilizing ASEs around our bargaining campaign in your department. Food will be provided.

RSVP today and spread the word by sharing the RSVP form with your friends and coworkers. Let’s strategize together on mobilizing ASEs across underrepresented departments for our current bargaining campaign!

UAW Region 6 Announcements

Applications are now open for the UAW Region 6 Our Labor, Our Movement (OLOM) June-September 2024 cohort! 
OLOM is a three month, full-time, paid internship to hone your organizing skills. The program brings together a cohort of new organizers who are placed on a variety of organizing campaigns across UAW Region 6. Participants will gain significant organizing experience during the three month program through a combination of structured training, support and connections across the cohort, hands-on practice on their campaign, and mentorship from experienced organizers.

OLOM is your opportunity to work and learn with a growing team of dedicated organizers who are ready to usher forth a renewed, fighting labor movement. Applications are due March 22. For more information about the program and how to apply, check out the job posting.

Local Solidarity 

Measure 23-02 passes in Renton!
Voters in Renton overwhelmingly passed a historic minimum wage increase, raising the minimum wage to $20.29/hour for the largest employers in town. This victory will facilitate a wealth transfer of tens of millions of dollars a year from the capitalist class to working class Rentonites! Our allies in Raise The Wage Renton and Seattle DSA knocked on 25,000+ doors and canvassed 59,000+ voters to pass this measure. Congrats to the workers of Renton!

Contract Corner: When to contact Contract Enforcement?

When you think something may constitute a contract violation but you also believe that you can resolve it on your own, please still reach out to the Contract Enforcement Working Group (CEWG) as early as possible to share the situation. The CEWG would prefer to brainstorm potential solutions and strategies to expedite a resolution, either formally or informally, than hear from a member when it is past the allowable timeline to have the option of filing a grievance.

Many issues require working with a union representative to utilize the grievance process to your advantage. Additionally, when there’s a threat of a grievance, the UW often opts to resolve problems through informal processes before the union files a grievance.

CEWG is a collaborative member-driven workgroup that enforces our hard-won contracts (ASEsPostdocs, and RSEs). Participation in this working group is open to all members. If you are interested, or think that something in your department may constitute a contract violation, please contact contractenforcement@uaw4121.org.

Beyond UW

We are part of a movement in higher ed, here are the updates from this past week:

  • The UArts Faculty Union of the United Academics of Philadelphia voted to ratify their contract.
  • Graduate Students United at the University of Chicago continues to bargain for a fair contract, gaining some ground on issues like paid time off and vision insurance.
  • Vanderbilt Graduate Workers United hosted a public demonstration as part of their union card campaign and push to unionize.

Fur-One-Two-One Pet of the Week

Meet this week’s Fur-One-Two-One Pet of the Week: Arielle’s cat roommate who does not pay rent, Tuna. Tuna’s hobbies include going on walks and the occasional hike, learning tricks, sitting on Arielle’s shoulder while she tries to clean the apartment, and making cameos on zoom. Tuna learns some things (sit, shake, spin, open doors) quite well but struggles to understand clear glass and is known by neighbors as the cat who routinely launches headfirst into the window trying to get the birds. His strengths are staying calm on airplane flights, being a nice host by greeting people at the door, and being an ig model @canned__tuna_ and his weaknesses are nonexistent (other than windows). His human Arielle is a first year PhD student in the molecular engineering department.

Tuna the cat is sitting on a cozy chair and staring straight at the camera.

If you’d like to submit your pet to be featured, please email comms@uaw4121.org.

In Solidarity,
Justin Applegate
Luci Baker
Brant Bowers
Francesca Colonnese
Natasha Crepeau
Iván Cruz
Pat Erickson
Brendy Fountaine
Abby Gambrill
Conner Gettings
Soohyung Hur
Levin Kim
Peter Lindquist
Avi Matarasso
Nicel Mohamed-Hinds
Deborah Nemens
Nelson Niu
Katie Osterhage
Sarah Pristash
Mara Rafferty
Tahiyat Rahman
Anastasia Schaadhardt
Natalie Wellen
Ryan Will
Jayden Wood
Tricia Wu
Yuying Xie
Candice Young