MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Researchers at UW vote yes on unionization

Jun 10, 2022, 1:34 PM | Updated: 1:36 pm

Photo by David Ryder...

Photo by David Ryder

In a vote of 606-104, researchers at the University of Washington have voted to unionize across all three campuses, with the Washington State Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) to certify the union in the next few weeks.

The bargaining unit is made up of a total of 1,450 employees of the university across all research areas.

“UW Researchers worked so hard for this day, and are so excited that we finally have our union. Now we’re ready to get to work and deal with real issues that have been neglected for far too long: wages, equity, stability, and transparency in our appointments,” Cara Margherio, a research scientist at UW Seattle, said. “We have a lot to do and look forward to making UW an even better place to do our research by securing a strong contract.”

UW Medicine residents stage walkout at Seattle hospitals Wednesday

According to the union’s website, the key issues the union is fighting to gain include cost of living raises, annual merit raises and reviews, and minimum one-year employment contracts.

The new union is frustrated at the slow process of unionization, for which they originally filed in Dec. 2021 with signed authorization cards, before stalls due to eligibility challenges from the university caused the researchers to call for an official election.

“Honestly, I think emotions among research scientists and engineers are mixed. We’re thrilled of course with the strong result from the vote but also frustrated that nearly six months have passed since a majority of us said we wanted a union,” Iván Cruz, a research scientist at UW Seattle, said. “We keep seeing this at UW: a group of workers wants to unionize, and then the administration makes all of these challenges that stall the process.”

The new UW Researchers United joins the United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 4121 alongside 100,000 academic employees at more than 40 universities and colleges across the country. UAW Local 4121 also works with a separate union of postdoctoral employees and academic student employees.

“Research Scientists are showing that they’re not going to let the University administration slow them down,” Ron McInroy, Director of UAW Region 4, which includes Washington state, said. “The UAW International has their backs. We’ll keep fighting until these workers get the respect they deserve.”

Supporters hope the UW Administration will be ready to meet at the bargaining table to reach an agreement.

“The UW respects the rights of research scientists and engineers to organize and we look forward to bargaining with this unit in good faith,” UW spokesperson Michelle Ma said on KIRO Newsradio.

MyNorthwest News

Photo: Neighbors in Mount Vernon are being praised for saving young kids from a burning home....

Samantha Lomibao, KIRO 7

Neighbors in Mount Vernon save young kids home alone from burning house

Neighbors in Mount Vernon are being praised for saving young kids from a burning home. The fire sparked on June 3.

11 hours ago

Photo: Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is surrounded by U.S. Secret...

Julie Carr Smyth, Jill Colvin, Colleen Long, Michael Balsamo, Eric Tucker and Michelle L. Price, The Associated Press

Trump heads to convention as authorities investigate motive, security in assassination attempt

Trump called for unity and resilience after an attempt on his life added fresh uncertainty to an already tumultuous presidential campaign.

11 hours ago

Photo: More than 70 Seattle firefighters responded to a Columbia City fire after a construction sit...

Julia Dallas

Columbia City construction site goes up in flames; downs power lines, damages cars and home

More than 70 Seattle firefighters responded to a construction site in Columbia City after it went up in flames early Saturday morning.

13 hours ago

Image: At left, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., speaks during a news conference on Tuesday, Jan. 9...

MyNorthwest Staff

‘It’s absolutely unacceptable:’ Washington officials react to Trump rally shooting

Washington officials have reacted to a shooting that broke out at a rally for former President Donald Trump on Saturday.

1 day ago

Auburn shooting...

Bill Kaczaraba

Auburn late-night shooting leaves one teenage boy dead

The Auburn community was shaken by a deadly shooting late Friday night. Police received reports of gunfire in the 500 Block of A Street SE.

1 day ago

Fitness guru Richard Simmons died Saturday at age 76. (AP)...

MARK KENNEDY, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

TV’s silly fitness guru Richard Simmons dies at 76

Richard Simmons, TV's court jester of physical fitness who built an empire by urging the overweight to exercise and eat better, has died.

2 days ago

Researchers at UW vote yes on unionization