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UW Academic Student Employees set May 14 strike date

University of Washington ASEs remain committed to reaching a fair agreement before that date


The following is from UAW Local 4121:

SEATTLE (May 6, 2024) — More than 6,000 Academic Student Employees at the University of Washington (UW) announced Friday that they will walk off the job and onto the picket line Tuesday, May 14, unless they reach agreement with the university administration on a fair contract. Additional bargaining sessions are being scheduled.

The strike date was announced during a rally which took place during a bargaining session with UW Admin. This week, hundreds of ASEs participated in a series of sit-ins on campus inspired by last year’s Big 3 contract campaign. Despite having a bargaining session on Friday, UW Admin refused to make any new proposals. ASEs are fighting for fair pay that keeps up with industry standards, adequate and affordable healthcare which protects their $0 premiums, and greater protections for non-citizen ASEs.

“A strike is a last resort, and we are working hard to avoid that outcome,” said Justin Applegate, Research Assistant in Biochemistry. “But UW Admin’s proposals are not fair, or competitive with our peer institutions. We want to avoid the disruption a strike would cause, but that means UW Admin needs to start bargaining seriously and right away.”

“UW had three years to plan, to make sure they are keeping up with industry standards and staying competitive when it comes to recruitment and retention,” said Levin Kim, UAW 4121 President and Teaching Assistant in the Information School. “Instead of taking responsibility, they are trying to claim ASEs are the ones out of touch with reality. UW Admin tried this last year when they wanted to deny Research Scientists fair pay, only to agree to their demands during a strike. We don’t think history needs to repeat itself.”

Last month, over 3,000 Academic Student Employees voted 99.11 percent to authorize their bargaining team to call for a strike if circumstances justify.

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. Members of UAW Local 4121 also include Postdocs and Research Scientists at UW who often work closely with ASEs. Learn more here.

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