Striking researchers, postdocs reach tentative agreement with UW

Jun 16, 2023, 8:51 AM | Updated: 9:07 am

UW strike agreement...

University of Washington researchers go on strike to protest low wages (Photo from Micki Gamez/KIRO Newsradio)

(Photo from Micki Gamez/KIRO Newsradio)

Update 6/16 8:38 p.m.:

After a week-long strike, researchers and post-doctoral workers have reached a tentative agreement with the University of Washington (UW).

The new contract is set to increase worker pay and improve the working conditions of the 2,400 union members at the institution. Postdoc Scholars will see their pay increased by 28% by Jan. 1, 2024, and their compensation will be re-negotiated before the next increase by Jan. 1, 2025. Researchers will see a pay increase of 33%, along with future wage increases that keep up with the costs of living.

“The University tried every trick in the book to avoid paying Postdocs and Research Scientists/Engineers fairly, but ultimately, Postdocs and RSEs walking off the job showed how essential they are and how much of an impact the loss of their labor had on University operations. Through the power they displayed and support of their allies, Postdocs and RSEs forced the University to meet their demands and won strong contracts which will make science and research at UW more inclusive and sustainable,” said Mike Miller, Director of UAW Region 6.

The contract ratification vote will begin on Friday.


Some 2,400 scientists, engineers, and post-doctoral researchers are now on strike after failing to reach a negotiation over pay increases with the University of Washington (UW).

Along with other union colleagues, researchers say they are key to powering the university’s research operations, which bring in more than a billion dollars in research grants and contracts.

UW librarians avoid strike after contract agreement reached

The union workers say that they are making less than a living wage while providing essential work to the University’s multi-million dollar research program. They are also asking for support for childcare and an inclusive workforce.

They claim the university continues to delay negotiations. The post-graduate workers held a rally to charge the university for using unfair labor practices in their bargaining.

The strike was approved by the union at the end of May. The Martin Luther King, Jr. County Labor Council granted the union strike sanction, which ensures that other unions are asked to honor picket lines should they choose to go on strike, back at the end of April.

The current collective bargaining agreement expired January 31.

A statement from the UW disagrees with the claims that their bargaining practices are illegal and say they continue to negotiate in good faith.

A University of Washington spokesperson released the following statement to KIRO 7:

“UW Postdocs and Research Scientists are valued members of our University community, and each provide different but important contributions to our university research mission. We are discouraged by a decision to authorize a strike starting June 7 while we are in the midst of good-faith negotiations supported by Public Employment Relations Commission appointed mediators.”

Workers are kicking off the strike in UW’s Red Square at 12 p.m. Wednesday.

KIRO 7 contributed to this report

MyNorthwest News

tiny home fire...

Frank Sumrall

Arrest made in Seattle’s Queen Anne tiny home fire

Seattle Police made an arrest after a fire broke out at a tiny home village Thursday morning in Seattle's Queen Anne neighborhood.

2 hours ago

Trump convention speech...


Trump: ‘The discord and division in our society must be healed’

Donald Trump accepted the GOP presidential nomination on Thursday at the Republican National Convention and said the country must 'heal.'

12 hours ago

Image: A Tacoma Police Department vehicle is seen on a street....

Steve Coogan

Human finger found in Tacoma driveway IDed, returned to owner

The case of a mysterious human finger found in a Tacoma driveway earlier this month has been solved and the digit was returned to its owner.

15 hours ago

Photo: Police are looking for a Tacoma serial arsonist after a rash of fires. This photo is of a fi...

James Lynch

Tacoma police looking for serial arsonist after rash of fires endanger lives, property

Tacoma police are currently searching for a serial arsonist after a rash of fires in the area endangered lives and property.

16 hours ago

Photo: This man was arrested in connection with a Kent attempted kidnapping on July 16, 2024....

Julia Dallas

Bail set: 11-year-old girls save 6-year-old from being kidnapped in Kent

A man was arrested and bail set for allegedly trying to kidnap a 6-year-old. Fortunately, three 11-year-old girls stepped in.

17 hours ago

Photo: Data from the Downtown Seattle Association confirmed visitors are coming back to downtown, f...

Julia Dallas

Visitors are filling downtown Seattle streets near pre-pandemic levels

Data from the Downtown Seattle Association confirmed visitors are coming back to downtown, filling the streets at levels close to 2019.

19 hours ago

Striking researchers, postdocs reach tentative agreement with UW