If you have been reading our bargaining updates over the past couple of weeks, you’ll know that we are holding a Strike Authorization Vote (SAV) in two weeks on May 6-9th – but you may be wondering why our bargaining has come to this point. 

For too long, educational student employees (ESEs) have gotten the short end of the stick – with our unprotected jobs being the first on the chopping block whenever budgets get cut. We all know too many people who have had to drop out of school because they couldn’t pay rent, much less tuition. Western says they care about working class students but at the table they act like we all have rich parents. WWU Admin has made it clear that they think making higher education accessible to all is a slogan not a priority. It is time they put their money where their mouth is. 

Instead of doing that, WWU Admin held our wages proposal for almost two months and finally came back today with their wages proposal and made practically no movement. For the second time, they proposed minimum wage for hourly workers and an increase of only $30 more a month for stipend workers – aka almost two months of sitting on our wages for nothing. Minimum wage is not enough if Western believes in its mission for service students regardless of their wealth or background. When WWU Admin delays bargaining and say “the answer is no” (they literally said this about peer-led ADEI training today) – they are really saying that you don’t need a living wage, adequate training, or bereavement leave because you are a student employee and “not a real employee.” They don’t care that you have to donate plasma to buy your groceries or work multiple hours at a second job instead of spending that time studying for your next exam.

Here’s the thing: WE care about each other and our power comes from standing together. 

That is why we’re holding a Strike Authorization Vote. It is going to take all of us –  you, your coworkers, and your other 1100 student employee peers – to hold Western accountable and make real change on campus. 

Here are 3 things that we ALL need to show up to:

Monday, April 29th (11am – 5pm) Next bargaining session – We are still making movement at the table, we still have 18 active articles to negotiate – but instead of working harder to come to an agreement, WWU Admin have not scheduled any bargaining sessions with us beyond April 29th. We need you to come pack the Solarium (Old Main 590) on Monday to show Western that we’re all paying attention and we expect to see them at the table in May. Even if you can only come for 15 minutes between 11-5, even if you have to be eating lunch or doing homework, come to bargaining. RSVP HERE!

Wednesday, May 1st (12 – 1pm) Strike Authorization Vote Informational Picket – gathering in Red Square and marching together to Old Main. We will hear from fellow ESEs and support from other faculty, staff, and students about why we need to vote “yes” in our SAV and show WWU Admin that we will not accept “the answer is no”. RSVP HERE!

If you haven’t yet, now is the time to pledge to vote Yes in our Strike Authorization Vote on May 6-9! You can also check out the answers to some frequently asked questions on our WAWU Website. 

In our hands is placed a power greater than their hoarded gold, 

For our unity makes us strong!

Your elected Western Academic Workers United 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

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

Paige Koenig, Graduate RA

Selena Knoblauch, Graduate TA

Taylar Christianson, Writing Studio Tutor

Theo Hytopoulos, Computer Science Faculty Assistant

Valerie Campbell, Financial Aid Peer Advisor