Welcome back. Hope you had a good break. Here’s a reprise of our victories in 2014 and a preview of the challenges to come in 2015. In particular, please add your name to the bargaining demands and note our bargaining agenda and schedule, the upcoming membership meeting, and Monday’s MLK day rally and march.

2015: Mobilizing for the Common Good

2015 will be a big year!  Our contract expires on April 30th, and our campaign to make improvements and strengthen workers’ rights fit with broader efforts to create a more just economy and a stronger higher education system.  In recent years austerity budgeting has benefited only a few, at the expense of the many:

In Washington, the income of the top one percent grew by 45% between 2009 and 2012, more than all combined  income growth in the state.  How did they receive more than all income growth?    This bonus came from the working families. The bottom 99% saw their average real income fall by 3.5%.  It gets worse:  from 2007 to 2012, income for the average household in the bottom 99% fell by $8,500. (See here for more information)

Currently a majority in the state Senate want to block efforts to change this trend, and have already positioned themselves against common-sense revenue measures that could improve educational quality and access, reduce income inequality, and strengthen the social safety net. But as we mobilize, we’ll promote a vision for change. We’ll be fighting back alongside student advocates like GPSS, ASUW and WSA (pressuring the legislature to stop funding UW through tuition/fee increases for undergraduate or graduate students) as well as other unions and progressive groups (pressuring the state to use public money to fund public interests and greater economic security and fair treatment for all workers). We can help bring about positive change, but


The key factor in our success will be continued membership involvement and continued successful coalition-building on and off campus.

2014 Successes

Amidst similar challenges in the past we’ve succeeded at bringing about positive change – for ourselves, the University, and the broader community – thanks to members speaking up and getting involved.  Just in the past 12 months we have:

  • Implemented the unprecedented wage increases we first bargained in 2012 (two straight years of 10% increases to the GSSA base);
  • Worked with community coalitions to help pass Seattle’s historic $15/hour minimum wage ordinance;
    Helped push for relief from public transportation cuts;
  • Eliminated (through a grievance and massive membership mobilization) the requirement of paying newly-imposed fees on 50% FTE employees with tuition waivers;
  • Resolved additional grievances relating to tuition waivers, including one that ensures tuition waivers cannot be capped for 50% FTE employees enrolled in high cost programs.  That has resulted in millions of dollars in tuition reimbursements for ASEs enrolled in Fee Based Programs;
  • Changed GAIP health plan to rid it of discriminatory restrictions against transgender ASEs; and
  • Won the right to establish a new center and clinic for Wage Theft and Workers Rights in partnership with the UW Law School [more to come on this in a future email];
Your Part

There are also some easy ways you can take action and get involved:

  1. To win a stronger contract we need to demonstrate widespread solidarity for our bargaining agenda. Please take a second to Add Your Name
  2. Participate in a union work group (see this page for more information)
  3. Attend upcoming bargaining sessions on Thursday, January 22nd and Thursday, January 29th in Condon Hall (time tbd)
  4. Attend our next membership meeting (January 29th at 4:30 p.m., room [TBD]
  5. Show the community that we’re part of the movement for greater justice and equity for all workers on January 19th MLK Day

Members like you have always been the source of our power to bring about positive change.  In the coming months, please continue to talk to your co-workers, stay tuned in to our struggle for a better contract, and join the fight for a stronger university.