Thank you to the hundreds of you who came to our mass action. This was another great example of our two units’ engagement and mobilization strength. In February, both Research Scientists and Postdocs took strike authorization votes and a supermajority voted yes. We didn’t want this day to come but the RSE and Postdoc bargaining units have each determined that striking is the only path left to win fair contracts for each of our units. At the mass action, both units set June 7th as the start date for a strike.
Since October 2022, Postdocs have been bargaining with UW’s Labor Relations team. Despite the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) recently confirming that the WA State Minimum Wage Act (WAMWA) unequivocally applies to Postdocs, UW Administration is continuing their attempts to dispute this issue and refusing to pay Postdocs above the wage thresholds defined by state law. We are convinced there are no more gains to be made at the bargaining table without disruptive mass action, and we are striking to show UW Admin that we are aware of the value of our labor, and are prepared to withhold it in order to win fair contracts.
Here’s how you can get ready to strike starting on June 7th:
1. Be prepared & get connected:
- Make a plan with your lab and PI for managing critical priorities during your absence.
- Make sure you know who your strike captain is, and if you’re not sure who that is, reach out to email@example.com
2. Sign up to be on the picket lines: keep an eye out for more information to come in the next few days.
3. Talk with your colleagues about the importance of their solidarity & support:
- Ask your PI to sign this Dear Colleague letter urging the UW administration to agree to a proposal to keep Postdocs overtime exempt
- Ask Academic Student Employees and other colleagues to sign the Pledge to Respect Picket Lines
- Contribute to our strike fund which will support PDs & RSEs financially burdened by striking & share with your networks. Encourage folks to donate $41.21 in solidarity!
Postdocs, RSEs, ASEs, and community supporters gathered by Drumheller fountain to discuss why the impending strikes are necessary and to set a strike timeline. We then marched to Gerberding Hall (the administration building), spoke to Margaret Shepherd (Chief of Staff and Chief Administrative Office to Ana Mari Cauce) about our demands for equitable contracts, and held a work-in where we planned organizing around the upcoming Equity Survey & held strike captain trainings in the afternoon. Check out Kiro 7’s coverage of the action, and see below for more snapshots from the action!
Additional Resources: Strike FAQ, Mailbag, Bargaining Center
- FAQs: Please review the Frequently Asked Questions for answers to common questions about the upcoming strike. If you have a question that you don’t see answered here, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Mailbag: Additional recurring questions & answers will be collected and answered in this ‘mailbag’ document. We will continue to update this document with new and recurring questions.
- Bargaining Center: Proposals, updates, and more are available at this Bargaining Center.
In thirteen days, UW RSEs and Postdocs across campus will be coming together on the picket lines. Together, we can – and we will – win fair contracts.
UWPU/UAW Bargaining Committee
Luci Baker, Mechanical Engineering
Rebecca Bluett, Biochemistry
Brant Bowers, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Tucker Burgin, Chemical Engineering
Pat Erickson, Institute for Protein Design
Jer Steeger, Philosophy