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UW staffers picket at all campus sites for a fair contract

With no tentative agreement in sight, union vows to be ‘back at it’ today


The following is from SEIU 925:

SEATTLE (Sept. 22, 2022) — University of Washington classified staff represented by SEIU 925 picketed Wednesday during their lunch breaks, across all UW campus sites. “Classified staff” is a category of UW employees that covers a wide range of job duties in both the medical and student-serving areas. SEIU 925 members range from lab techs and patient support coordinators to security officers and IT specialists.

Staff have been in union contract negotiations with UW since July. Their main demands are long-term solutions to short staffing at the medical and education facilities, including upgrades to pay scales to reflect sector trends.

“We want folks to stay and build a career here,” said Rhonda Johnson, a patient care coordinator at UW Medical Center and president of the SEIU 925 chapter at UW. “Part of that is offering better pay so they don’t leave.”

“The low staffing in clinics and units is leading to low morale, cutting corners in patient care, poor training, and general breakdown in communication,” added Danay Michelson, a patient services specialist at UW Medical Center. “Burnout and low wages at UW are leading to a vicious cycle of stagnation.”

Pickets occurred between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Wednesday, depending on location, at Harborview Medical Center, Northwest Hospital, UW Bothell, UW Tacoma, and UW Medical Center at Montlake. The actions culminated in a 4 p.m. rally at Red Square on the UW Seattle main campus aims to show support for the bargaining team as negotiations were scheduled to end.

Wednesday was the last scheduled bargaining session between SEIU 925 and UW, and employees vow to keep picketing on their lunch breaks until a tentative agreement is reached.

“We need UW to focus on meaningful action, not just words or pizza parties,” added Cory Taylor, a campus security officer at UW Bothell.

SEIU 925 unites 17,000 people in Washington — including 5,000 from the University of Washington — who work in education from early learning through university, as well as local government and nonprofits.

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