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WSU Academic Student Employees prepare to strike on Jan. 17

The following is from WSU-CASE/UAW:

PULLMAN, SPOKANE, TRI-CITIES, VANCOUVER, MT. VERNON, PROSSER, PUYALLUP and WENATCHEE, Wash. (Jan. 15, 2024) — More than 1,800 Academic Student Employees (ASEs) at Washington State University who are members of the WSU Coalition of Academic Student Employees-UAW (WSU-CASE/UAW) are preparing to walk off the job and onto the picket line on Wednesday, Jan. 17 on all campuses and extension centers. After nearly a full year at the bargaining table with WSU administrators, no agreement has been reached. The union remains willing to bargain to reach a fair agreement.

At issue still is an equitable healthcare plan that supports affordable and accessible networks, wage increases that keep pace with other institutions and costs of living, a waiver that covers all tuition fees, and six weeks of paid family leave.

“We love our teaching work and research but WSU Admin is leaving us no choice,” said Andre Diehl, 3rd year PhD Candidate (ABD) in American Studies and Culture. “WSU Admin needs to take ASEs seriously, to take our labor seriously, and to take our demands for a contract seriously. Fair pay, adequate health insurance, a reprieve from burdensome and misleading fees, and parental leave aren’t unreasonable: they are what we need to focus on our work without constantly worrying about our health and wellbeing.”

“Helping students better understand course material is one of my favorite parts of being a teaching assistant. But without proper support from WSU Admin — including guarantees of fair wages and healthcare stability — we are unable to give our students the academic support they deserve,” said Malcolm Anderson, a 2nd year masters’ student in Computer Science at WSU Vancouver. “If we have a living wage and competent health care, we will be able to focus on serving our students and research projects, instead of worrying about whether we’ll be sleeping on the street or how an unexpected medical emergency could financially devastate us.”

The impacts of the strike will be felt across WSU and beyond. Hundreds of other WSU employees, labor allies, and community members are expected to respect the picket lines.

Updates and strike locations will be shared as they become available. 

Academic Student Employees play a crucial role in advancing WSU’s teaching and research mission. ASE labor brings in tens of millions of dollars in grant money and drives innovation and understanding in areas such as climate change and the environment, mental health, engineering, society and culture, journalism, and much more.

In recent months, UAW academic workers at Mount Sinai, the University of Washington, and the University of California have secured industry-leading contracts after being forced to strike in the course of contract negotiations.

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