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UW Tacoma students seek same wage hike as other campuses

Delivering the letter that demands all UW Tacoma employees get a minimum wage increase are (from left) students Johari DuPont, Victoria Olive, Julianna Siemssen, Maryam Diriye, and Shugri Hussein.

TACOMA (Dec. 2, 2015) — A delegation of University of Washington-Tacoma students delivered an open letter to the Office of the Chancellor on Monday demanding a minimum wage increase for all campus employees that is equal to the one being provided at UW’s Seattle and Bothell campuses.

Chancellor Mark Pagano announced that the Tacoma campus would not follow the same standard as Seattle and Bothell campuses — which raises the minimum wage for all employees, including student workers, to $13/hour on Jan. 1, 2016, and $15/hour Jan. 1, 2017 — despite UW President Ana Mari Cauce announcing the increase following a year of coalition bargaining efforts.


Bill Kunz, Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at UW Tacoma, accepts the students’ letter.

In response, student workers from virtually every Tacoma campus hiring unit have signed the letter stating their support for the increase, and pointing out the contradiction that UW Tacoma charges the highest tuition/fees of any UW campus but wants to pay the lowest minimum wage.

“As a campus known for its diverse student population, this belies the University’s stated commitment to student success and retention, and to inclusion and racial and economic justice,” the letter states.

TAKE A STAND — Please sign this petition urging the administrators at UW Tacoma to adhere to the same minimum wage standard as the Seattle and Bothell campuses.

“Under our collective bargaining agreement, UAW members on the Tacoma campus will receive the same increase as Seattle and Bothell,” said David Parsons, President of UAW Local 4121. “However, the refusal of Tacoma to follow the minimum wage for all student workers is an issue we’ve continued to raise in our coalition bargaining with UW. So we strongly support these students’ efforts to make sure all UW employees in Tacoma benefit from the increase.”

In addition to UAW Local 4121, the UW collective bargaining coalition includes Service Employee International Union (SEIU) Local 925 and the Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) Local 1488.

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!