TLDR: Us Educational Student Employees deserve competitive living wages, tuition waivers, and fee waivers. Western’s biggest excuse is that they don’t have “enough money” to make that happen, but we know that WWU is the least funded university in WA per student. If you haven’t yet, take 2 minutes RIGHT NOW to sign this petition along with all the other unionized workers at Western demanding more funding from the state legislature. Let’s show Western that we’re willing to help them do their job to find the funding to pay us what we’re worth. 

Happy back to campus after a long (hopefully restful) weekend!

We had a break in our bargaining sessions this week for the holiday, and while we wish that Western admin would have scheduled a make-up session to keep us on pace, this week gives us an opportunity to gather more information and research for a wages counter proposal at the table next week. 

Here’s a recap of WWU’s wages proposal from last Monday (2/12):

  • For graduate/stipend student workers: Western proposed a 10% “raise”, which sounds nice at first glance, but amounts to $1870 a month. This proposal is a full $800 less than what masters students at WSU Mount Vernon and UW make. It also amounts to only $170 more a month than we get right now, or $85 per pay period. 

  • For undergraduate/hourly student workers: Western proposed using the new Bellingham minimum wage as the new “level 1” minimum hourly rate. Not only does the new minimum wage not provide enough for anyone working 40 hours in Bellingham to meet the cost of living, WWU’s proposal also made no movement towards our initial proposal. Western’s counters to our economic articles have shown they don’t value the labor of hourly undergraduate workers the same way they value stipend graduate workers — both in terms of their response to wages, but also by not offering healthcare or tuition waivers for undergraduates. Our proposal maintains that we need equitable increases in our wages and benefits. 

As always, Western’s excuse is that there’s not enough money in their budget to afford what we student workers are worth. Western receives the least amount of funding per student out of all the universities in Washington. It is Western admins’ job to acquire the appropriate amount of funding from the state legislature, and if they don’t have enough money, it’s because they haven’t advocated for enough money.  We are joining with the other unionized workers at Western to help WWU do their job. If you haven’t yet, take 2 minutes t0 sign this petition demanding that the state legislature prioritize fully funding higher education in Washington. This is our first step in showing WWU that we are serious about getting paid what we deserve and working with them to find the funding to do so. 

What do you think about Western’s wage proposal? If you’re a graduate worker – what do you need from a monthly stipend to afford living in Bellingham? If you’re an hourly worker – is another $40-$100 per month (as per WWU’s proposal) enough to fully cover your rent, utilities, groceries, and gas expenses? How would you feel if WWU refuses to give undergraduate hourly workers healthcare or tuition/fee waivers? Email us back and let us know!

We’re going back to the bargaining table next Monday (2/26) with our counter proposal. Let us know your thoughts before then AND come observe anytime between 11 am and 5pm in Viking Union room 565. Let us know when you can come by RSVPing here! This coming week is a great session to come to! We’re presenting counters for accommodations, ADEI training, anti-harassment and discrimination, wages, and more. We expect to finally hear back from WWU admin about tuition/fee waivers, parking, job descriptions and appointment letters.

Solidarity and problem solving,

WAWU ESE Bargaining Committee,

Ally Wehrle, Graduate TA

Ben Workman Smith, Graduate TA

David Cummins, Graduate RA/TA

Erin Grimes, Graduate TA

Erin Magarro, Library Tutor/Ethnic Student Center

Ev Coit, Graduate TA

Gabe Wong, Associated Students Peer Advisor

Jaime Blais, Graduate RA/TA

Josh Kinney, Business Management Faculty Assistant

Jude Ziliak, Academic Advising and Student Achievement Center Peer Advisor

Lexy Aydelotte, Graduate TA

Lydia Henderson, Graduate TA

Mickey Jolliff, Graduate RA/TA

Mason Nicholas, Student Technology Center Computer Assistant

Theo Hytopoulos, Computer Science Faculty Assistant

Valerie Campbell, Financial Aid Peer Advisor