We, the undersigned, are outraged by UW Admin's recent attempts to intimidate international Postdocs & RSEs.
On the first day the RSE & Postdocs were striking, UW provided guidance to several departments that included a blatant mischaracterization of facts regarding international scholars & striking:
“We have also been informed by OAP/ISO that we are required to notify the Department of Labor in the event of a strike by visa holders. Please look for additional information from OAP/ISO on this requirement soon.”
By characterizing the ongoing RSE and Postdoc strikes as a “strike by visa holders,” the UW is willfully deploying a clear misrepresentation of the law designed to intimidate international scholars by drawing attention to individual participation in strike activities. While UW's statement may technically be true, the deliberately vague phrasing obscures the fact that UW doesn't need to provide ANY information on which visa holders are striking, and that this requirement is meant to PROTECT striking visa holders.
In reality, the reporting requirements that UW Admin is referencing under 20 CFR § 655.733(a)(1) clearly states that UW is only required to report that a strike is occurring amongst workers in the same classification(s) as H-1B visa holders, NOT of a strike “by” visa holders, or any kind of reporting of individual visa holders participating in a strike.
UW’s messaging, which was careless at best and deliberately cruel at worst, caused panic among all international Postdocs and RSEs, worried that their immigration status may be at stake due to the strike. This targets some of the most structurally vulnerable members of our unit in an attempt to discourage strike action — an injury to one is an injury to all, and we hold UW accountable for its disgraceful actions.
We demand that the UW honor its own commitment to being a "global university and to supporting all members of our community, wherever they are from" by issuing an apology for these scare tactics, and providing clarification from the highest level that UW supports their international scholars and their lawful expression of their first amendment rights.