VIDEO Town Hall on Inequality at UW

KODX, Seattle, Dec. 8, 2018

Watch the full town hall meeting held at the UW addressing inequality for workers.

AFSCME Council 28 (WFSE) represents over 3000 workers at the University of Washington who laundry at Haborview Medical Center, at UW Medical Center and all across campus.

INTRO by Megan Parke, Director of Field Services, AFSCME Council 28 (WFSE):

There's a struggle here at the University of Washington (UW). Workers have not been able to negotiate fair wages with this administration. All across Washington every single higher education institution has agreed to locality pay for workers in King County because it's expensive to live in King County. Every other higher education institution has agreed to 3% and 3% in wage increases. 

At the UW, our contract negotiations have come to a stand still. Ninety-five percent of the bargaining unit voted to REJECT the UW"s last offer of 2% and 2%.

Our workers at the UW cannot afford to get basic needs mmt to take care of their families. 

It's a struggle every single day. Let me tell you what wage inequality looks like at the UW:

  • On average the top 250 earners at the UW make $186 per hour, $387,000 per year.
  • On average the bottom members who keep the UW and HMC running average $16 per hour and $33,408 per year.

That's TEN TIMES what the custodians, hospital assistants, partient care techs - who keep this university running make.

Cost of living here is crazy. The average rent for at 2-bedroom home in Seattle is $2700 per month and may analysts say an income of $70,000 per year is needed to even live in Seattle. 

So many of the workers travel for an hour or more in van pools and public transportation to serve the students and patients here at the UW.

Let's talk aout how decisions are made. How many have heard about the struggle of the UW Laundry workers?

  • 94% are immigrants and people of color.

The UW has decided to outsource — close down the laundry. Laundry workers would lose those jobs and instead the work would go to a company that doesn't offer pensions. A company that doesn't offer real benefits. A company that does not offer union jobs like what our members at at the UW Laundry have worked hard for all these years.

So in addition to the wage inquality, we are concerned that the UW is balancing the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable people who work for the university.

Watch the video to hear from the workers. Learn more about workers at the UW and their fight for fair pay at