UW Laundry workers win Mother Jones award

At the Washington State Labor Council Convention in Wenatchee, Local 3488 UW Laundry workers were awarded the Mother Jones Award:

Mother Jones said “Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living”. This year’s recipients of the Mother Jones Award do exactly that.

At the University of Washington, the current administration has been trying to balance the budget on the backs of the lowest paid, most vulnerable workers. Fighting against paying Seattle’s minimum wage, stalling contract negotiations, contracting out and privatizing work of public employees.

The Unions at the UW have stood together in solidarity to fight for the integrity of the UW as a public institution. Nominated by WFSE 1488 and AFT Washington, today’s Mother Jones award will go to two Unions who have been fighting, not just to survive, but to grow and thrive in a hostile environment.

UAW 4121 and WFSE 3488 have stood up and fought to hold the UW administration accountable.

UAW 4121 represents academic student employees at the UW. In late April, Postdocs at the UW voted to unionize with UAW 4121. Just two weeks later, current members of UAW 4121 went on strike when negotiations stalled with little progress from the UW. Union members fought hard and relentlessly – and with a certain strike likely during finals week, the UW finally settled.

WFSE 3488 represents workers at the UW in the laundry services.  They have a union, so they have fair wages, health care, and retirement benefits. The UW has been threatening to shut down and privatize their work. Their union sounded the alarm – they launched a ferocious campaign with unions, students, and community partners  fighting to save their jobs, and they stalled action. The fight continues.