OLYMPIA (Jan. 3, 2019) — Last year, more than 1,100 Postdoctoral Researchers at the University of Washington voted to join together and form a union — UW Postdocs United/UAW 4121 — to bargain for increased job security, better pay, and more protections for international Postdocs, among other things. Carolyn Brotherton, a Postdoc in UW’s Department of Microbiology, was one of the founding organizers of that historic campaign and has served on the union’s bargaining team.
Now, Brotherton is joining the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO as Legislative Intern for the 2019 session that begins on Jan. 14.
“We are very excited to have Carolyn join our team in Olympia,” said Joe Kendo, WSLC Government Affairs Director. “Her outstanding work with UAW 4121 has demonstrated her commitment to collective action and fundamental labor principles. As an experienced and successful union organizer, she will be a great asset at the State Capitol as we advocate for our 2019 Shared Prosperity Agenda.”
Brotherton grew up in southern Virginia and studied chemistry at Yale University. But it was in graduate school at Harvard that she saw and experienced firsthand the negative impacts that a lack of workplace protections can have on academic student employees.
That motivated her to bring positive change to higher education at University of Washington, where she helped form and lead Postdocs’ union campaign. Brotherton organized across UW’s campuses, coordinates the union election, and strategized direct actions to demand that UW respect its employees’ democratic rights. Since then, she has served as a member of the union’s bargaining committee in pursuit of UW Postdocs’ first collective bargaining agreement.
“I’m so looking forward to being part of the Labor Council’s legislative team and bringing my passion for labor rights to Olympia,” Brotherton said. “There will be many exciting opportunities to help Washington’s working families this legislative session.”
When not engaged with this work, Carolyn enjoys making music, writing and spending time with her husband and cat in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.
When you see Carolyn this session at the State Capitol, give her a hearty union welcome!