Sometimes, the only way to say it is with a sign....

At the UW May 7.

At the UW May 7.

University of Washington custodians, gardeners, trades workers and others on Wednesday (May 7) used mostly hand-lettered signs to show the administration they’re united for a strong contract.

It was a new tactic —  because of the location, they couldn’t use the same kind of loudspeaker equipment they might use at the Seattle campus’s Red Square, for instance. Thus the series of informational signs that  said, “Let’s talk about living wages,” “Hire more custodians, fewer managers,” and “Respect our contract.”

The rolling two-hour contract solidarity event took place along the street in front of the Facilities Services office across from the UW Husky Union Building (HUB). Students looked on from above along the HUB’s balcony.

At the UW May 7.

At the UW May 7.

“We’re getting into bargaining and we’re trying to show management we want a strong contract,” said Paula Lukaszek, president of Local 1488, which covers employees on the main UW campus, Harborview Medical Center, UW Medical Center, campuses in Tacoma and Bothell, among others.

Bargaining for the UW’s next contract starts May 21. That collective bargaining agreement will take effect July 1, 2015 and run through June 30, 2017

Those bargaining sessions can be a forum for effective action to improve living wages, end unfair treatment and address the effects of higher tuition on students, Lukaszek said.

Yes, the UW contract really is about providing quality services for students, she said.

At the UW May 7.

At the UW May 7.

“They (the administration) keep raising tuition, but they’re not really giving value to their students,” Lukaszek said.

“They’re not paying to have the services that they need to have done, like the custodial and the trades work, and this is what the students expect – (they) expect value for their money….

“They (the administration) seem to be spending money on larger and larger salaries for management and they really need to be paying the worker bees to do the actual work so that students will get some value for their tuition.”

• We have the first confirmed dates for the UW Bargaining Team: May 21, June 23, July 9, July 30, Aug. 6, Aug. 27 and Sept. 17. The team is working to get additional dates.


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