WSU student employees ratify first union contract

Contract enshrines huge wage increases, new rights and protections


The following is from WSU-CASE/UAW:

PULLMAN, Wash. (Jan. 29, 2024) — Academic Student Employees at Washington State University (WSU) have voted to ratify their historic first union contract by an overwhelming margin. The final count was 99% of ASEs voting “yes” for ratification, with 1,169 voting in favor and 15 voting against. Voting took place online Jan. 19-25. Academic Student Employees reached agreement on a first contract on Jan. 17, just hours into their strike.

“With this near-unanimous vote in favor of ratification, it’s clear that Academic Student Employees are excited about what we’ve achieved with our first contract. ASEs came together and worked tirelessly in our effort to create a stronger WSU. We are so proud of the improvements to our working conditions that we secured, like better pay so we can have food security and more affordable health insurance so we can go to the doctor when we need to,” said Amir Moadab, Graduate Teaching Assistant, Department of Finance and Management Science.

The contract won by WSU Coalition of Academic Student Employees/UAW (WSU-CASE) contains significant wage increases. The minimum salary for a typical PhD candidate working in Pullman will increase by 49 percent between now and the end of the 2.5 year agreement. The wage scale in other locations — Spokane, Tri-Cities, Vancouver, Mt. Vernon, Prosser, Puyallup, and Wenatchee — will also be adjusted to reflect higher costs of living (for example, the minimum for Vancouver will increase by 91 percent over the life of the contract).

Additionally, ASEs secured:

● Lower out of pocket costs for healthcare and a commitment to continuing to improve the plan;

● Full tuition remission that includes a building fee waiver;

● Strong protections against harassment and discrimination;

● Immigration support including work-related visa costs paid by WSU;

● Six weeks of paid parental leave;

● A child and dependent care subsidy;

● Paid vacation time off for the first time;

● Protections against firing without just cause;

● Access to critical professional development opportunities, and much more.

“Winning this contract—in spite of the uphill battle we faced—is a testament to the strength of our organizing and the urgency of our demands,” said Rowan Calkins, PhD Candidate, Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience. “This contract is going to be life changing for so many ASEs, allowing us to focus on the work we came here to do. Now we’re looking ahead to channeling this momentum into building a strong Local union and enforcing our new contract.”

Click here to read the tentative agreement that was ratified.

The WSU Coalition Academic Student Employees-UAW (WSU-CASE/UAW) represents more than 1,800 ASEs at WSU, who 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.


READY FOR A RAISE? Get more information about how you can join together with co-workers and negotiate for better wages and working conditions. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!

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