UW researchers agree to go on strike in June for fair contracts

Nearly 2,400 research scientists, engineers (RSEs), and post-doctoral researchers at the University of Washington agreed Thursday to go on strike starting June 7.

The agreement came after a rally discussing the status of negotiations for fair contracts from the university.

RSEs and post-docs told KIRO 7 they’re asking for more money for salaried employees. They claim the university administration is using unfair labor practices and is breaking the law in bargaining.

On May 11, RSEs and post-docs filled a UW Board of Regents meeting and said during public comment that they asked the Regents to use their power to urge university administration to reach an agreement with their units.

The researchers say they bring in more than $1 billion per year in grants and contracts for the school’s research operations. They’ve been bargaining with university administration for months, with the current collective bargaining agreement for post-docs having expired Jan. 31.

RSEs say they’ve been negotiating with UW for their first-ever union contract since August.

A University of Washington spokesperson released the following statement:

“UW Postdocs and Research Scientists are valued members of our University community, and each provide different but important contributions to our university research mission. We are discouraged by a decision to authorize a strike starting June 7 while we are in the midst of good-faith negotiations supported by Public Employment Relations Commission appointed mediators.”