Univ. of Washington Postdocs, Researchers are on STRIKE!

Here’s how to support UW strikers — starting with rally today at noon


UPDATED with photos/clips from today’s rally.

SEATTLE (June 7, 2023) — About 2,400 Postdoctoral Researchers and Research Scientists/Engineers (RSEs) at the University of Washington represented by UAW Local 4121 are on strike today after not reaching agreement with UW administration in bargaining. Picket lines were set up at 5 a.m. Hundreds gathered today for a strike kickoff rally at noon on Red Square.

TAKE A STAND — All union members and supporters are urged to attend the strike kickoff rally at noon at the UW Seattle campus’s Red Square, 4063 Spokane Lane. In addition, check out the strike linktree where you’ll find information about how to contribute to the strike hardship fund, picket shift signups, solidarity petitions and letters, and more. Get the latest updates via Twitter @UAW4121.

“We love our research but UW left us no choice. We will be striking until we get a fair contract,” said Rebecca Bluett, Postdoctoral Scholar at UW. “Our priority has always been ensuring that science at UW is sustainable and inclusive, and that means fair pay so we can all afford rent, take care of our families, and stay in the careers we love.”

“Today Postdocs, Researchers, members of the UW community, and community at large are standing together to hold the UW administration accountable,” said Levin Kim, President of UAW 4121, the union of Postdocs, RSEs and Academic Student Employees at UW. “Through our collective action, we hope to compel them to bargain in good faith, so we can finally address the urgent issues we face as researchers committed to our careers in science and research.”

Picket locations are:

  • NE 45th St & Memorial Way NE (SW corner)
  • 15th Ave NE & W Stevens Way NE (NE corner)
  • Montlake Triangle: NE Pacific St & Montlake Blvd NE
  • SLU: Mercer St (between 8th and 9th Ave N)

At issue still for RSEs are three core demands: support for an inclusive workforce—including the same harassment prevention program for RSEs that is available for Postdocs and student employees, support for childcare, and fair compensation. For Postdocs, the biggest sticking point is that UW is refusing to pay Postdocs a living wage in line with state minimum wage standards.

The impacts of the strike will be felt across the university system and beyond. There are 6,000 Academic Student Employees, graduate students who work as Research and Teaching Assistants at UW, who have been pledging to respect the picket lines. The MLK Labor sanctioned the strike, as did the Joint Council for Teamsters 28. Collectively these labor organizations represent more than 100,000 workers in King County, who will be receiving information about the strike and be urged to not cross the picket line.

University of Washington Postdocs and RSEs rally for a fair contract on April 24.

Research Scientists/Engineers (RSEs) and Postdocs perform a wide range of critical research, from developing new therapies to fight disease, designing policy to tackle climate change, advancing new technologies that will shape the future of research, and much more. Postdocs and RSEs are part of UAW 4121, the union of just shy of 1,500 staff researchers, 900 Postdocs, and over 6,000 Academic Student Employees at UW.

Each unit has been in bargaining with the UW administration for months—Postdocs are negotiating a successor agreement and these are initial contract negotiations for RSEs, who won their union one year ago on June 10.

Here are some scenes from today’s strike kickoff rally:


PREVIOUSLY at The Stand:

WSLC’s April Sims: UW ‘doesn’t get a pass’ on fair pay (June 1)
UW Researchers, Postdocs set strike date (May 26) — Hundreds will walk off job June 7 unless a contract agreement is reached.
Univ. of Washington RSEs, Postdocs rally for fair contract (May 1)

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