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Hundreds of ASEs rallying for UW ‘where all can bloom’

UPDATED with photos:

See lots more pics and video clips @WAAFLCIO and @UAW4121.


SEATTLE (March 29, 2024) — Today, hundreds of Academic Student Employees (ASEs) at the University of Washington will rally on campus as they fight to improve their working conditions and negotiate a successor contract with the university. UAW Local 4121 is the union of 6,000 ASEs at UW, undergraduate and graduate teaching and research assistants, tutors, and graders who do the majority of teaching and research at UW.

ASEs are becoming increasingly frustrated at UW Administration’s stalling and delaying in presenting substantive proposals and responding to ASEs’ proposals. At the rally, ASEs will call on the University administration to come to a fair agreement with them. Press is welcome to attend.

“Increasingly, UW is not an equitable place for workers, and that burden is felt particularly by Academic Student Employees who include first generation college students, international scholars, and those without generational wealth,” said said Peter Lindquist, PhD Candidate and teaching assistant in Earth & Space Sciences. He added:

“We want to make working in higher education accessible to all, so we need to ensure that the jobs in higher education pay wages that make it so we don’t have to already be wealthy to afford to do the teaching and research work that we do for UW. Our contract negotiations are an opportunity to correct these imbalances, and to ensure UW is a place where all workers can thrive, rather than contributing to the wealth inequity plaguing so much of the Puget Sound region.”

Top priorities in bargaining for Academic Student Employees include increasing wages, as more than 80 percent of UW ASEs surveyed in 2022 are rent-burdened, or spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent; ending pay-to-work student fees, which lower ASEs’ take-home pay by 9.6 percent at the start of each quarter; and securing new rights to protect and retain international scholars.

ASEs began bargaining with UW administration in February. Their collective bargaining agreement expires on April 30, 2024. Members of UAW Local 4121 also include Postdocs and Research Scientists at UW who often work closely with ASEs, and together, are key to powering the university’s teaching and research operation.

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