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Join effort to save UW laundry workers’ jobs

UPDATE (April 10, 2018) — Dozens rallied in support of the University of Washington laundry workers on Monday, and then a group of students took the protest a step further…

► In today’s Seattle Times — Students protest possible closure of UW Medical laundry; 100 jobs at risk — More than a dozen University of Washington students occupied the office of UW Medicine’s CEO Monday afternoon to protest the possibility that the university might close a hospital laundry facility with more than 100 employees.

► From The Stranger — UW students occupy building to protest closure of unionized laundry — About 20 students are currently occupying UW Medicine administrative offices urging the university not to shutter its laundry service. The laundry currently employs about 100 people who clean linens and scrubs for University of Washington Medicine hospitals and clinics.

The following is from the Washington Federation of State Employees, Council 28:

SEATTLE — Last Thursday, right before the start of the Easter and Passover holidays, University of Washington Medicine issued layoff notices for 15 workers at the Consolidated Laundry, effective for the end of May. Also in May, UW Medicine plans to issue bids for proposals that could privatize the Consolidated Laundry. Workers have no guarantees that UW’s Consolidated Laundry will not be privatized and closed!

TAKE A STAND — Show your support at the second rally with University of Washington Laundry Workers, who are fighting to keep their union jobs as UW Medicine threatens to privatize and close their facility. Rally to stop the contracting out of their jobs on Monday, April 9 at 2:30 p.m. at Drumheller Fountain on the UW Seattle campus. RSVP on Facebook.

BACKGROUND: Union members of the Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 925 are rallying to stop UW Medicine from contracting out/privatizing its laundry facility, which employs more than 100 workers who are protected by a union, have a voice on the job, earn a living wage, receive healthcare benefits, and have retirement security.

The UW’s unionized Laundry Workers will be rallying with community supporters, including students, to highlight how contracting with private sector vendors undermines Seattle’s tradition of respecting high labor standards- by paying workers living wages, offering them employer-provided healthcare, and providing defined-benefit pension plans.

Come show your support for the UW’s Laundry Workers, and tell the University to stop trying to balance UW Medicine’s multi-million dollar hospital and clinics operating losses on the backs of a hard-working and incredibly diverse workforce – the majority of whom are women, people of color, and immigrants.

► ALSO SEE, from The Stranger — As UW laundry workers advocate to keep their jobs, 15 employees get layoff notices — On Wednesday, workers from the University of Washington-run laundry that services UW hospitals and clinics gathered with supporters on the university campus. They fear they could lose their jobs as the university moves to privatize the laundry. They used the rally to highlight that fear and call on the school to reconsider. The next day, 15 of the laundry’s roughly 100 employees got a new reason to worry: They received notices that they will be laid off in 60 days.

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!