Union contract negotiations come to an end

SEIU 925 has been in contract negotiations with the University since July, on Friday, those negotiations finally came to an end.

After months of negotiations with the University of Washington, union members of SEIU 925 have come into agreement and voted to ratify a contract with the university. This contract will become effective July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2025. 

SEIU 925 is a local union that represents “17,000 people in Washington who work in education from early learning through higher education, as well as members who work in local government and nonprofits,” according to their website. This covers many healthcare workers along with staff members at the University of Washington that can hold a range of positions from medical, to IT specialists and Program Specialists. 

This contract has long been in the works with many different negotiations happening between union bargaining teams and the university since July 20 this year. Members in these contract negotiations have asked for a variety of changes with their new contracts which included pay raises, safety training and an address to staffing issues. 

The original demands of the union members included a 26% pay increase to be distributed over the next two and a half years, but the school countered with a 3% and 2% offer. 

“If you keep up with inflation, that’s a pay cut,” said Jesse Cooley, an organizer and member of SEIU 925 and Program Support supervisor here at the UWT campus. 

Informational pickets have been organized and held all over UW campuses such as Seattle, Bothell, and Tacoma along with Harborview Medical Center and UW Medical Center-Montlake  during workers’ lunch breaks. Cooley, who works for the office of Student Transitions and Success, had to miss out on working at one of his office’s events: an orientation for new students.

“I am a program support supervisor and should be working orientation but instead I am forced to make my voice heard to my chancellor, we’re not even worth three and a quarter percent,” Cooley said at an informational picket on September 23. 

Since then, one more meeting was held to discuss the union members’ contract. With a bargaining team and the university, a tentative agreement was reached around 3 a.m. on September 27. Union members were then asked to vote and ratify this contract.

The main highlights of this new contract included a pay raise of 4% in July of 2023, and 3% in July 2024, a variety of healthcare benefits, an addressing of staffing issues, and safety training that includes evacuation plans in case of emergencies along with more protections for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and more.

While members of the union such as Cooley are relieved that these negotiations are finally over, there is still more work to be done. “I am an angry yes,” Cooley said in regards to his vote on the contract. 

While SEIU 925 celebrates the vote for ratification, they now wait for the contract to be sent to state legislators to approve and fund it in January 2023. 

If you would like to find out more about SEIU 925 and its members you can go to: