Group asks Cauce to stay neutral on union

“Our expectations are that faculty be allowed to decide for themselves whether or not they want to form a union,” one of the group members said, reading the petition that had more than 1,000 signatures. “And they should be able to have a fair and democratic vote free from intimidation.”

As raindrops pelted Red Square early Tuesday afternoon, a group of organizations, including some graduate students, stood on the steps of Gerberding Hall with a message for UW president Ana Mari Cauce. They entered the building, donned in matching T-shirts and holding signs that read “I Support UW Faculty,” as they walked up three flights of stairs to deliver a petition to the president.

“Our expectations are that faculty be allowed to decide for themselves whether or not they want to form a union,” one of the group members said, reading the petition that had more than 1,000 signatures. “And they should be able to have a fair and democratic vote free from intimidation.”

On Tuesday, Dec. 8, a group of students and supporters of faculty unionization delivered a petition to Cauce requesting she and the UW administration be neutral on potential faculty unionization.

Efforts to form a union began in the spring, when the UW’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and Service Employees International United (SEIU) Local 925 launched the effort.

Organizers of the union, UW Faculty Forward, say they’re seeking benefits such as an increase in shared governance between the faculty and administration, and a bigger say in the state Legislature.

Currently, organizers are trying to rally support around the union. If they obtain support from 30 percent of the faculty across all three campuses, they’ll file to have an election among the faculty on whether to unionize.

"They’ve asked Cauce and the administration to remain neutral, in fear that the administration’s power could intimidate faculty.

“Given the power dynamic, I don’t have the same freedom of speech that the administration has,” said Carrie Matthews, a full-time lecturer in the English department. “They are in a position of power where what they think can negatively impact the freedom of expression of the people that they have power over."

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