UW News

May 1, 2018

UW statement regarding ongoing negotiations with academic student employees

UW News

We are disappointed that negotiations between the University of Washington and UAW Local 4121, representing academic student employees at the UW, ended without an agreement Monday as the previous three-year contract expired. Under Washington law, all terms and conditions of an expired contract carry forward for up to a year from expiration while efforts are made to agree on a new contract.

On Monday, the UW provided the union its last, best and final offer – a three-year contract which includes annual wage increases over the next three years, a continuation of high-quality health insurance fully paid by the university and the continuation of waivers on many student-approved fees. The UW has also agreed to pay for two 50 percent ASE employees to partner with SafeCampus to develop and conduct a sexual harassment and prevention training program to address ASE-specific issues.

“We believe we have been responsive to the academic student employee concerns brought to the bargaining table over the past several months and have made significant progress on important issues,” said Mindy Kornberg, UW’s Vice President for Human Resources. “The University will continue to bargain in good faith and remain committed to reaching a fair deal for our ASEs.”

Base wages for salaried ASEs have increased by a compounded rate of 50.4 percent over the past five years, as part of our plan to closely align them with peers in the University of California system. This is on top of the tuition waivers and other benefits they receive. The UW’s proposal provides another 2 percent increase each of the next three years.

Under our proposal, ASEs would remain the only employees at the UW who pay nothing toward their health insurance. While coverage has improved dramatically over the years and the cost to the university has increased, ASEs have not contributed to their coverage while other employees at the UW pay 15 percent.

We are sensitive to ASEs’ concerns about trans-affirming procedures. The current insurance plan for ASEs covers gender reassignment surgeries deemed medically necessary. This coverage is consistent with trans-affirming procedures offered to all state employees through their public benefits plan.

Mental health is another concern we share with ASEs. Hall Health’s services are available to ASEs with the first $1,000 in care waived completely. There are more than 1,500 in-network providers in the area, with a $75 quarterly deductible and 10 percent co-insurance on unlimited visits.

Finally, ASEs are asking for waivers on all student fees. The UW has already waived operating fees, building fees and tech fees, and is proposing to maintain the fee waivers that are already in place. Still, ASEs are students in addition to being employees, and we believe it is fair that they continue to pay the remaining fees other UW students pay along with their tuition.

We regret that we have been unable to reach an agreement, but believe this proposal is a fair one that acknowledges the UW’s commitment to our ASEs and their concerns, while also remaining fair and equitable to other students, faculty and staff.

We understand that ASEs have voted to authorize a strike, but this is not permitted under their contract and state law because it would directly and significantly impact undergraduate students who rely on ASEs to meet their instructional and research responsibilities.

More information on the proposals can be found on the Labor Relations website.