9/20/16 – Univ of WA Employees Picket, Protest Low Wages

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 20, 2016

Contact:

Binah Palmer, SEIU 925 Communications Director, bpalmer@seiu925.org
Sarah Bright, WFSE 1488 Council Representative, brights@wfse.org


University of Washington Employees Picket, Protest Low Wages

Actions come after months of failed bargaining with UW administration

SEATTLE –  University of Washington employees have been in negotiations for a new union contract all summer, but believe UW administrators are not bargaining in good faith as promised. They will hold informational pickets at five locations across the UW campus to protest unfair wages and working conditions.

“We help make the University of Washington the world-class place it is,” said Tom Small, SEIU 925’s UW chapter president. “This institution is important to our community, and we need to make sure everybody is valued and respected. We’ve come to the bargaining table with serious proposals. The administration needs to start getting serious too.”

With the recent outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease at UW Medical Center, staff are more concerned than ever about how sub-par wages and low staffing impact not just employee safety at work, but also the health and safety of patients and the general public.

“The university isn’t making it a priority to hire people for basic preventive maintenance,” said Paula Lukaszek, a UW plumber and WFSE 1488 president. “In order to recruit and retain staff, you need to pay a decent wage.” She plans to attend the picket at Gerberding Hall on the main UW campus.

The picket at UW Medical Center (1959 NE Pacific St, Seattle) will last from 11am to 1pm. Other pickets will occur simultaneously near Gerberding Hall, UW Tower, Sand Point, and Harborview Medical Center.

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 925 represents nearly 6,000 employees at the University of Washington; Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) 1488 represents 4,000 employees at the University of Washington. For the first time, the two unions are bargaining a joint contract with the UW administration.

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