Open letter to the bargaining team for UAW Local 2865by For a Democratic University, an independent graduate student labor group at University of Washington
As rank and file members of UAW 4121, For a Democratic University (FaDU) fully supports the efforts of University of California’s Academic Workers for a Democratic Union (AWDU) to build rank-and-file power, gain a strong contract, and increase transparency and democracy in their union. FaDU spent much of last spring calling on our elected union leadership, who were engaged in tough bargaining with University of Washington management, to fight for workers and to call a strike if necessary. After multiple contract extensions and implied strike threats, 4121’s bargaining team agreed to a temporary contract with no substantive gains for Academic Student Employees (ASEs), leaving us vulnerable to further cuts this year. Having backed off the strike, the bargaining team lost the opportunity for even modest gains for ASEs.
Now we see a similar drama unfolding at University of California. Members of UAW 2865’s contract expired September 30, but you, members of the bargaining team, have extended negotiations rather than calling a strike. As AWDU members stated so clearly in April, “[w]e already know that the autocratic managers of the university will not listen to us unless we force them to. Since we are left with no choice, then we must use force: we must strike to make our demands heard.”
Thus far, UC managment have made it clear that they refuse to provide ASEs with a decent wage. In more than two months of bargaining, UAW 2865 has obtained only extremely minor improvements in managements’ offers. It’s time for action. We call on you to call for a strike in early December and begin devoting the union local’s resources toward member mobilization. UAW 2865 members have already made it clear that they won’t accept a below-inflation wage increase. They are willing to fight, and you are their elected representatives. As ASEs and rank and file members of UAW, we are in solidarity with UC workers and call on you to begin strike preparation immediately.
For a Democratic University