solidarity across unions

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

RAs AND TAs AT UW VOTE FOR COLLECTIVE BARGAINING Teaching Assistants, Research Assistants, Staff Assistants, Readers, Tutors, Graders, and other academic student employees at the University of Washington voted to be represented by GSEAC/UAW (Graduate Student Employee Action Coalition / United Auto Workers) in collective bargaining. The Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) has tallied the ballots in the mail ballot election that began on February 25th. Out of 2370 votes cast, 1391 were in favor of representation. GSEAC/UAW will now represent over 4500 academic student employees at UW. “This is a great day for us” said Amanda Rychel, a Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant in the Biology department. “We have been working for this for a long time, and are happy to have a seat at the bargaining table like other employees on campus.” The vote marks the end of the four year campaign by GSEAC/UAW to gain certification as the exclusive bargaining representative of academic student employees at UW. The Union expects to start bargaining with the University on matters of employment, such as wages, health insurance and working conditions, at the beginning of this spring quarter. The Union is also pleased with the University’s recent decision not to appeal the PERC decision that Research Assistants are employees with collective bargaining rights under the law. “We are pleased that our votes have been counted and that the University is respecting our choice to have collective bargaining” said Kay Greeson, a Research Assistant in Pathobiology at UW. “Research Assistants provide a crucial service in advancing the research mission of the University.” Steve Williamson, Executive Secretary of King County Labor Council, said: “The University’s decision not to appeal the PERC ruling is consistent with what we see are very hopeful signs of improving labor relations at the University of Washington. We’re very happy with the University’s decision and we applaud their respect for worker democracy.” Media Contacts: Kristen Intemann, Philosophy, 206-356-8635 H. Gorkem Kuterdem, Electrical Engineering, 206-229-9282 Amanda Rychel, Biology, (206) 713-9473
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The Coalition of Graduate Employee Unions is a loose-knit coalition of labor unions in the USA and Canada that represents graduate students employed as teachers, researchers, and administrative staff.