UW Libraries, Press staff may strike on Jan. 25

After 15 months of bargaining with the university, they’ll begin strike unless they reach a deal


The following is from SEIU 925:

SEATTLE (Jan. 13, 2023) — Union staff at the University of Washington Libraries and Press have declared their intention to strike beginning Wednesday, Jan. 25 if a full contract agreement with the UW administration is not reached. Members of the bargaining team made the announcement during the public comment period at the UW’s Board of Regents’ quarterly meeting on Thursday.

“Fifteen months without a contract is too long,” said Allee Monheim, a public service librarian who addressed the board. “We’ve been waiting on some proposals for over six months, and we’re tired of dragging this out. We will go on strike if we don’t reach a tentative agreement before the 25th.”

Employees of the University of Washington Libraries and Press formed a union in June 2021 and have been negotiating with the university for a first contract ever since. They engaged in a one-day strike in October 2022 to show frustration at how long the university has been dragging out negotiations. In November, they authorized their union bargaining team to call an open-ended strike if negotiations with the university break down.

Many librarians haven’t seen a wage increase since before the pandemic and feel they have reached a breaking point.

“When librarians are willing to walk off the job, you know something’s really wrong,” said Tricia Schroeder, President of SEIU 925, the union UW Libraries and Press staff have joined. “But they’re willing to do it for a living wage, to be able to retain colleagues and prevent staff shortages, and to have the resources to better serve the UW educational community.”

The last scheduled day of bargaining is Tuesday, Jan. 24.

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

The Stand (April 5, 2022) — UW tops in research, bottom in library pay (by Jason Sokoloff)

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