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UW Academic Student Employees on strike

Hundreds of ASEs will gather for a strike kickoff rally at 1pm in Red Square

The following is from UAW 4121:

SEATTLE, Wash. (May 14, 2024) — 6,000 Academic Student Employees at the University of Washington (UW) walked off the job and onto the picket line today beginning at 6am, after the University administration still refused to agree to their demands after multiple extensions. Hundreds of ASEs will rally at 1pm in Red Square at UW. 

ASEs are fighting for fair pay that addresses rapidly increasing costs in Seattle while also making the University of Washington competitive with peer institutions.  Most ASEs make less than $40,000 per year, and often struggle to make ends meet even while providing critical instructional and research service to the University. Over 80% of Academic Student Employees (ASEs) who participated in a 2022 survey reported being rent-burdened.

“Thousands of ASEs have been saying over the last three years that we need much higher wages in our next contract. But rather than reach an overdue agreement, UW Admin refused to pay wages in line with peer universities—even after we extended negotiations for weeks. This has left us no choice. We will be striking until we get a contract that allows us to continue in the research and teaching we love rather than be forced out because our wages are unsustainable,” saidFrancesca Colonnese, a Predoctoral Instructor from the English Department.

Strike locations at the UW Seattle main campus are as follows: 

  • Montlake Triangle
  • 15th & Stevens
  • 45th & Memorial Way
  • Pend Oreille & 25th (NE Pacific St & Montlake Blvd NE)
  • South Lake Union: Mercer St (between 8th and 9th Ave N)

Last month, over 3,000 Academic Student Employees voted 99.11% to authorize their bargaining team to call for a strike if circumstances justify. This has been accompanied by multiple direct actions, where hundreds have made clear that they want the University to agree to fair terms by May 14th. In recent months, UAW academic workers at Washington State University, 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.

UAW Local 4121 is the union of 6,000 ASEs at UW, undergraduate and graduate teaching and research assistants, graders, tutors, and instructors who do the majority of teaching and research at UW. Members of UAW Local 4121 also include Postdocs and Research Scientists at UW who often work closely with ASEs.

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