UW students and laundry workers unite

BULLETIN: UW students and Local 3488 Laundry workers unite against privatizing

A delegation of Local 3488 members from the University of Washington Laundry reached out to UW student groups and forged a partnership that aims to oppose privatizing this vital public service.

The UW Laundry members spoke with dozens of UW students at the event organized by the UW chapter of the United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS). USAS in turn invited representatives from a few other groups on campus including the Filipino American Student Association, Huskies for Food Justice, and Campus Animal Rights Educators. 

Our members told their stories about how the possible closure of the UW Laundry would affect their families why we have reached out to students and the community to oppose the outsourcing scheme. 

Our members also explained that UW Medicine’s financial challenges are in no way meaningfully addressed by closing the laundry, and that any comparison of a unionized laundry service where workers receive Seattle’s minimum wage, healthcare benefits and the state pension plan cannot be made with private sector competitors that compete at the expense of labor standards. 

USAS students are going to work with our union to coordinate outreach to other student organizations on campus, hosting a big educational event for UW students next quarter (with outreach to progressive classes and asking professors to offer students extra credit), and participating in campus actions in support of our campaign. We also talked through the importance of UW President Ana Mari Cauce including labor standards criteria in the University’s Request For Proposals (RFP) evaluation process.