Action items for starting this week

As week 2 of our strike starts tomorrow, we already have several action items on the agenda to continue applying pressure to the university.

  • Monday, June 12th, 12pm – Monday Action: meet at the courtyard between Health Sciences and Foege [see meeting location on map]. Please plan on attending if at all possible, as we deliver our message directly to School of Medicine leadership
  • Monday, June 12th, 7:30pm – Mass Meeting over Zoom for UAW 4121 and UWRU. Sign up for the zoom link here. (Please note that one of yesterday’s emails had the incorrect time. This mass meeting is at 7:30.
  • Tuesday, June 13th, 12pm – Mass Action & March: meet at the 15th & Stevens Way picket line at 12pm. More details will be shared at the Mass Meeting tomorrow night.

Picket Shifts: We have taken feedback from everyone on the picket lines and made some changes to the schedule.

  • Picketing will now run from 6:30am to 6:30pm at the same locations as last week, except for 45th & Memorial Way which will only have the midday shift. There will be an additional 5–9am shift at Montlake to request delivery drivers honor our picket line.
  • Shifts are four hours long, but you are welcome to spread your daily picketing hours across multiple shifts if your schedule requires it.
  • We are planning some family-oriented picket shifts this week, so bring your kids along!
  • Please sign up now. If you are unable to picket in person for any reason, you may choose a remote picket shift. In-person is preferred whenever possible, but there are critical support tasks you can still help with from elsewhere.

A message to share with UW colleagues who want to support our fight for fair contracts
We’ve been getting questions about how non-Research Scientist/Postdoc UW employees can support. Here is a list to share with these colleagues:

  • UW can’t control how you spend your free/vacation time; sign up for a picket shift before work in solidarity, join for a midday action on your lunch break, or take a half day of PTO and join for a picket shift.
  • Continue dropping off snacks/drinks at a picket location for striking colleagues.
  • We see donations to the hardship fund coming from our faculty and staff colleagues. Please keep it up and ask others who are not striking to do this same.
  • Sign on to the letter in solidarity with striking international colleagues.

Week 1 Recap 
The first days of our historic strike were filled with incredible demonstrations of our collective power and solidarity. On Wednesday, we had four packed picket lines around campus and we successfully began to disrupt business as usual through withholding our own labor, countless delivery drivers turning their trucks around, and other UW employees honoring our picket lines. At noon, we headed over to Red Square for a kickoff rally and it was incredible to feel our power and solidarity in one location. We’ve heard from numerous researchers that picketing is the most connected that they’ve felt in their time at UW. So many of us are very siloed in our work and there haven’t previously been occasions for a researcher in the College of the Environment to connect with a postdoc in the School of Medicine. It feels really special to come together and make these new connections, both inside and outside of our units.

On Thursday, we circled Suzzallo Library and spoke with Regents on their way into the Board of Regents meeting. We made sure they were aware of the intimidation tactics UW employed to specifically target visa holding RSEs and Postdocs. (Sign the letter in solidarity with striking international colleagues.) Also, a crowd of us confronted President Cauce on her way into the Board of Regents meeting, which resulted in getting more bargaining dates calendared.

Then on Friday, hundreds of us – colleagues, friends, family, community members, and faculty – turned out to our action, An Injury to One is An Injury To All. We clearly communicated the seriousness of our strike and that we will continue to stand together in solidarity against UW’s intimidation tactics targeting researchers on visas. Administration’s appalling approach is not acceptable in our research communities and has severely tarnished regard for the University of Washington by current staff, faculty, students and the broader community.

The first week of our strike culminated on Saturday with national attention to our fights for fair contracts with the University of Washington. US Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, canceled his plans to speak at the class of 2023 commencement because he was not willing to cross our picket line (read Seattle Times coverage). We appreciate his solidarity, and also we want to be clear that while UW is referring to this as “unforeseen circumstances,” this absolutely could have been avoided. UW Admin was well aware that Secretary Cardona would respect the picket line. As we have been making clear throughout our strike, both bargaining committees again reaffirmed on Friday evening that we are committed to reaching an agreement and that we were available to meet over the weekend, specifically on Friday night and Saturday morning; UW declined.

Despite the unpredictable and often unpleasant weather, we have turned out en masse to make our presence and our demands heard, and UW Admin is absolutely feeling the pressure of our collective strength rooted in mass, participatory strike actions that are making visible our power and disrupting UW’s proclivity to maintain “business as usual.” That’s why each and every one of us participating in pickets, actions, talking with our colleagues within and outside our bargaining units, and more is fundamental to our broader fight. As we enter two days of bargaining on Monday and Tuesday, it is imperative that UW continues to feel escalating pressure. As we concluded our action on Friday by chanting, ONE DAY LONGER, ONE DAY STRONGER.

Looking forward to seeing you all out there on the picket lines this week! Stay strong!

Image Description: A large crowd of union members confront President Cauce on her way into the Board of Regents meeting in front of Suzzallo Library.

Image description: Union members speak with Board of Regents members, Leonard Forsman and Leonor Fuller, at an entrance to Suzzallo Library.

Image description: UW Biochemistry Professor Dana Miller paused her Commencement preparations to come speak at our Friday rally about supporting Postdocs and Researchers, particularly our international scholars.