UW Research Scientists Have a Union!

HUGE NEWS! Earlier today, after incredible participation in their union election, UW Research Scientists/Engineers have a union!

Here are some numbers to contextualize this amazing win:

  • By an overwhelming margin (85%!), Research Scientists/Engineers A-4 voted union YES!
  • Voter turnout was a powerful 63% – all thanks to hundreds of Researchers who voted, and to everyone who called, texted and encouraged colleagues to cast their vote.
  • Because their victory was so decisive, the state labor board did not need to tally the 206 votes cast by those Researchers currently challenged by UW.

With today’s vote, UW RSEs are only the second group of academic researchers to form their own bargaining unit in the U.S., and the first to be certified by representation election! RSEs are joining our Local as a separate bargaining unit, which means they will bargain their own contract, while also building cross-unit power and resources alongside ASEs and Postdocs. ASEs, Postdocs, and Researchers share many issues, and in many cases even share workspaces. By coming together in solidarity across all three units, we will all have more power to advance fair working and learning conditions at UW and beyond, to win strong contracts, and more.

Congrats Researchers!

Membership Meeting June 9 at 5pm

As a reminder, our next membership meeting will be Thursday 6/9 from 5-6pm via Zoom. To access the link and/or call-in number, please fill out this short form. Everyone is encouraged to login five minutes earlier to help expedite the check-in process. The agenda for the meeting is as follows:

  • Approve agenda & minutes
  • Organizing updates
  • Research Scientist/Engineers unionization campaign
  • Summer organizing workshops
  • Equity survey
  • Proposed Bylaws Amendment
  • Proposed Constitutional Convention Resolutions
  • Adjourn

All members in good standing are encouraged to attend, and anyone who is not yet a member can sign up here beforehand. For more information about how the meeting will be structured and how you can use Zoom’s features to participate, check out this page on our website.

Help Raise the Minimum Wage in Tukwila

Raise the Wage Tukwila — Labor Canvassing Day
Saturday, June 11
Meet at 11am at the Sullivan Center
14350 Tukwila International Blvd
Tukwila, WA 98168

Like Seattle and SeaTac, Tukwila is one of the largest job centers in the state, including thousands of retail jobs at and around Southcenter Mall. But unlike Seattle and SeaTac, where minimum wages are over $17/hour, in Tukwila many workers are still making the statewide minimum of $14.49/hour. As a union, we’ve joined with many others in the community to address this disparity through the new ballot initiative, Raise the Wage Tukwila.

You can help build the momentum to win by joining a Labor canvass this Saturday June 11 at the Sullivan Center, starting at 11am. If you aren’t able to make it by 11am, organizers will be able to accommodate new arrivals from 11am-3pm. Food will be provided for lunch around 1:30pm. The Sullivan Center is about a 15 minute walk from the Tukwila Light Rail station, down Tukwila Int’l Blvd. There is bus service (Metro Route 124) that connects the two.

Support House Our Neighbors! Initiative 135

Initiative 135 would create social housing, which is housing that is publicly owned, permanently affordable, and creates cross-class communities and renter leadership. More information here. House Our Neighbors! has less than a month left to reach their goal of 35,000 signatures for Initiative 135. They need everyone who is able to get out there with them and gather signatures to sign up for a shift here.

You can keep up with initiatives like this by subscribing to the Seattle Abolition Support newsletter here.

Tell Mayor Harrell to Stop Lying About Sweeps

At a news conference last month, Mayor Harrell is quoted as saying, “Under this administration, we don’t sweep. We don’t chase people out. We treat and we house.” This is an outright lie. Stop the Sweeps, a community organization, has been tracking sweeps and Mayor Harrell has been perpetrating sweeps of unhoused people several times each week. Seattle simply does not have enough tiny houses, enhanced shelters or other transitional housing to keep up with the unhoused people that are evicted in these sweeps. As Stop the Sweeps says: Sweeps do not move people out of homelessness, only temporarily out of sight. See here for more information and an email script to tell Mayor Harrell to stop lying about the sweeps. Check out the Stop the Sweeps linktree for more ways to help: https://linktr.ee/stopthesweeps.

Keep Police out of King County Labor Council

Back in 2020, our union was part of the successful effort to remove the Seattle Police Officer’s Guild (SPOG) from the King County Labor Council (MLK Labor). There may be a resolution coming to the MLK Labor aimed at bringing SPOG back in. Labor for Black Lives has been circulating this petition demanding to keep SPOG out, invest in basic needs & social housing for BIPOC communities, etc — please take a minute today to sign on!

EPIC is Hiring – Positions Available for Postdocs!

Empowering Prevention and Inclusive Communities (EPIC) is hiring for two Postdoc Training Specialists! The Training Specialist role is between a 20-40% FTE position, and is enshrined in the Postdoc contract. Postdoc Training Specialists are Postdocs who focus on developing and implementing the peer-to-peer EPIC program for fellow Postdoctoral Scholars at UW. UW Postdocs can apply on UW Hires (UW Requisition #204931).

The EPIC program is an innovative peer-to-peer harassment prevention training program jointly run between our union and the university, and is a major win from recent ASE and Postdoc contract campaigns. Training Specialists will have the opportunity to work with a team to develop, implement, and evaluate the EPIC program for both ASEs and Postdocs at UW, which includes information regarding sexual harassment, discrimination, intersectional power dynamics, bystander intervention strategies, response options, UW policies and procedures, and union rights. If you have questions, reach out to any of the current training specialists at epicprogram@uw.edu.

Thank You for Taking the Equity Survey!

Thank you to those who participated in the 2022 Equity Survey! Thousands of ASEs and Postdocs participated — more than any previous year, and including more than 300 Postdocs. And, happy pride to the 59% of survey respondents who identified themselves as LGBTQ+!!! . Over the summer, members of the Anti-Discrimination Working Group and EPIC team will start analyzing survey responses and strategizing further steps to address ongoing issues. Check out examples of past reports here, and to get involved in organizing around equity-related issues, reach out to anti-discrimination@uaw4121.org.

Rainbow letters say “Happy Pride Month.” A cat lies on its back opening and closing its paws as rainbows pulsate out of them.