By Julia Tong, AsAmNews Staff Writer
After five months of bargaining, the Asian American Writers’ Workshop (AAWW) has reached a tentative agreement with the AAWW Union. This agreement heralds a new contract for union-represented AAWW staff members, who have been fighting for a living wage and other employment benefits.
AAWW is a NYC-based nonprofit dedicated to promoting and supporting Asian American writers by publishing work by Asian American authors, running writing workshops, holding virtual and in-person events, and other initiatives. Staff members are represented by the AAWW union, which was founded in 2018 and is affiliated with Local 2110 UAW.
Bargaining for staff members’ third renewed contract began in October 2022, with negotiations revolving around a livable wage and retirement benefits. The Union claims that their Bargaining Committee asked AAWW management for a salary floor of $25.65/hour, or approximately $52,000/year. This figure, they say, reflects the minimum survivable salary in NYC per MIT’s Living Wage calculator. In comparison, however, AAWW’s starting salary was $44,000— with many workers not receiving retirement benefits as well.
However, the union says that AAWW management was not receptive to their demands.
“The Union’s goals were simple this year: retirement benefits and a living wage,” reads a post on the AAWW Union’s Twitter account. “And yet, Management has repeatedly refused to meet us where we need to be, effectively stating that AAWW workers do not deserve to survive in one of the most expensive cities in the world.”
The Collective Bargaining Agreement recently reached by the Union’s Bargaining Committee and AAWW management will, if ratified, be in effect for the next five years. Its contents are not yet public, though, per an announcement posted to the AAWW Union’s Twitter account, more details are forthcoming.
Regardless, the Agreement represents a major step forward for both the union and AAWW management.
“The AAWW management team is thrilled to have come to an agreement on the third collective bargaining agreement with the AAWW Union,” an AAWW representative wrote in an email to AsAmNews.
“We are proud of this renewed contract that will be in effect immediately for the Workshop’s next five years of growth and look forward to continuing to work with the Union to create a stronger workplace together.”
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