As you’ve probably heard, state lawmakers narrowly avoided a partial government shutdown during its third special session. At the last minute, Paid Family Leave was introduced and passed! Along with this positive outcome, I-1552, the anti-trans bathroom bill, was defeated! Here’s some more information on each, along with the implications for ASEs.
No on I-1552: Last Friday was the filing deadline for state initiatives to make it onto the November ballot. Thanks to the incredible work from Washington Won’t Discriminate, I-1552, the anti-trans bathroom bill, did not succeed and will not be on the ballot! Similar to last year’s battle against I-1515, we unanimously passed a resolution against the harmful initiative and helped collected signatures for the Decline to Sign campaign.
Comprehensive Paid Family Leave in new state budget: UAW 4121 members have long advocated for comprehensive Paid Family Leave . Though the new budget is problematic on many levels, we are pleased that our efforts to win Paid Family Leave have contributed to a significant economic step forward for all Washingtonians. Under the new law, starting January 1, 2020, all workers who have been employed for 820 or more hours in the previous year are eligible for the new benefits. Below is an outline of the new law and you can click here for a more detailed description.
- Benefits will be 90% of usual wages for lower income workers and top of at $1,000 per week
- Family leave (available individually for both parents) will be paid for up to 12 weeks in a year to care for a newborn or newly placed adopted foster child
- Medical leave for a worker’s own serious health condition will be paid up to 12 weeks in a year for a worker’s own serious health condition with an additional two weeks if it includes a pregnancy-related complication
- Total combined leave (medical and family) of up to 16 weeks per year with an additional 2 weeks for pregnancy related complications
This is a major victory in the fight for economic and gender equity in this state, but for ASE’s there is still work to do to ensure that all our members are eligible to make use of this benefit before it goes into effect in just over two years. Because of the 820 hour minimum for eligibility, the majority of ASE’s will not qualify for the benefit as written into the state law.
However there is strong precedent for using the new standard set by the state budget as a baseline for negotiating commensurate benefits for all ASE’s. This was a strategy ASE’s successfully employed in previous contract negotiations over the federal guidelines for family leave (FMLA), and we now have an opportunity to pressure the university to come to a similar agreement as it relates to the state law in our next round of bargaining starting in April of 2018.
Monica Cortes Viharo
Arshiya Hoseyni Chime