On Tuesday, over 400 ASEs attended the contract bargaining session with Provost Baldasty. Members shared stories of extreme financial stress, dependence on the local food bank, of moving to Tacoma for affordable housing, widespread mental health concerns particularly among our trans members, and of the hardship of bearing children without access to paid family leave. When voting ended Tuesday night, 2538 ASEs had voted in favor of authorizing a strike. We’ve made our goals clear: an investment in equity, so every one of us can do our work free from discrimination, and fair compensation, so we all can afford to continue living in one of the fastest rising housing market cities in the country.
We returned to the bargaining table on Wednesday anticipating a reasonable economic proposal. Instead, they offered a 1% wage increase next year — about $250 more per year, less than half of the estimated rent increases for next year. UW’s proposed fees and healthcare costs remained unchanged, which means they are still proposing a huge net loss of real wages.
We want to bargain the best possible contract for our membership before the deadline. So, in response to UW’s second economic proposal of a 1% raise, the bargaining committee presented a counter offer to raise the base pay rate from $2295 to $2833 per month over a three-year period (equivalent to the monthly stipend amount of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship). This amount would provide ASEs with wages that would make the cost of living in the area more manageable, and that reflect a standard of excellence the University Administration recognizes.
We also continued to demand GAIP coverage with no new premiums and a waiver for all ASE fees. This would be about a 30% wage increase by the end of the contract. We continue to stand up for the high quality of work we do at this university and demand fair compensation for our labor. More updates on bargaining today to follow.
Monica Cortes Viharo