Researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle are on strike this week, demanding better wages, child support and harassment training.
Nearly 2,400 striking researchers gathered at UW’s Red Square on Wednesday to draw attention to the strike. The researchers work in various fields, including climate change and health care. Due to the strike, many of their projects will be put on hold.
One of the most important issues to the researchers is pay. Many of the speakers at Wednesday’s rally said they were unable to afford health care and housing on their current salaries.
“You have skills that no one else has. Your research and knowledge fuels this university. You deserve to have a life where you are not struggling. You deserve to thrive,” researcher Beth Martin said at the rally.
The minimum salary for researchers at UW is around $53,000.
The university was disappointed by the strike and said that it has offered significant pay raises to research scientists and postdoctoral researchers, including an average 15% wage increase.
“The end of spring quarter marks a time where we would like to be coming together as a community to celebrate the incredible academic achievements of our students — not divided over contract negotiations,” the university said in a statement.
The researchers are also looking for increased benefits. Some of the researchers said they can’t pay for child care and want better provisions in place for their children. They also want improvement to the sexual harassment training they receive.