Labor Relations

Negotiations Recap for March 12, 2015

This recap details the 10th session for renewal of the collective bargaining agreement between the UW and UAW.

Discussions: Undocumented Graduate Students and Micro-aggressions

Several subject matter experts attended bargaining from across the University to help facilitate conversations on the topics of undocumented graduate students and micro-aggressions.

Undocumented Graduate Students

Cynthia Morales, Director of GO-MAP (Graduate Opportunities & Minority Achievement Program), attended bargaining in response to several union questions related to undocumented graduate students. GO-MAP works on recruitment and outreach to undergraduate students of color and other underrepresented groups nationally who are interested in pursuing graduate school.

UW is in the early stages of addressing issues surrounding undocumented graduate students, as policies on undocumented undergraduate students are more common. GO-MAP has focused on creating a safe space for undocumented graduate students, and is currently working on informational materials and focus groups to help departments better understand the issues and federal immigration policies.


A panel of representatives from across the University, including the Ombud’s Office, the Risk Management/Title IX Office, the Violence Prevention and Response Program, and Campus HR Operations, attended bargaining to participate in a discussion on micro-aggressions.

Union Testimonials – In support of its proposals to curb and prevent micro-aggressions UAW recounted several instances of conduct to illustrate the characteristics and impact of micro-aggressions, and explained that most cases occur between ASEs with faculty not intervening. UAW emphasized its desire to have a mechanism for reporting such issues.

Existing Mechanisms – Panelists noted that many of the examples cited by the union as examples of “micro-aggression” would likely be actionable under existing policies for reporting, investigating, and resolving complaints of sexual harassment, hostile work environment, and other forms of discrimination.

Panelists recognized the power dynamic that exists between ASEs and faculty, but underscored the importance of reporting such instances and utilizing the mechanisms that have been established to address these very problems. UAW acknowledged that several of these examples were handled through the grievance process.

Implementation – When asked how other universities address the issue of micro-aggressions, the union reported difficultly finding information. UW expressed alignment with UAW’s underlying concerns, while noting that the scope of the union contract is somewhat limited to the student employment relationship.

In support of continuing the dialogue and disseminating these concerns, UW suggested the parties invite several UW administrators to a future meeting who could better speak to this issue in the context of an academic career path.

Next Steps

The next UW-UAW bargaining session is scheduled for March 18.