HBCLS Home » Resources » Silme Domingo & Gene Viernes Scholarship in Labor Studies

Silme Domingo & Gene Viernes Scholarship in Labor Studies

$5,500 scholarship for students entering or transferring into the University of Washington

The Domingo-Viernes Scholarship annually provides $5,500 in financial support to graduate or undergraduate students entering or transferring into the University of Washington who are committed to the principles of justice and equality and have demonstrated financial need.

Founded through the efforts of the Inlandboatmen's Union, Region 37, this scholarship honors Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes, two inspiring leaders of the Seattle labor movement. Gene grew up on a farm in the Yakima Valley and began working in the Alaska salmon canneries at the young age of 16. Gene was a state wrestling champion and attended Central Washington State College on a full ride athletic scholarship. Silme graduated with honors from the University of Washington and went on to found the Seattle chapter of the Union of Democratic Filipinos. Together, they formed the Alaska Cannery Workers' Association and fought the brutal working conditions and racist management of the industry.

Despite opposition from all sides, Gene and Silme founded the Rank and File Committee in 1977 to struggle for union democracy and fair working conditions. They were elected to the leadership of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 37 in 1980, and worked hard to build links and solidarity with the people of the Philippines. Tragically, both were murdered on June 1, 1981. Corrupt former Local 37 President Tony Baruso and Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos were later implicated in the assassination. Their memory lives on as inspiration to workers and students striving for justice.

Scholarship winners must demonstrate high academic achievement and be enrolled for Autumn Quarter of the upcoming academic year. Students also must demonstrate financial need according to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to qualify. Low-income, non-citizen students unable to file a FAFSA due to immigration status may instead complete the free Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA).

Those who do not meet FAFSA or WASFA requirements are highly encouraged to consider other scholarships offered by the Bridges Center. More information is available by clicking here.

Application Process

To apply, a student should verify that they have financial need according to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) (or WASFA, if applicable) and prepare the following materials:

  1. A brief written statement by the applicant (not exceeding 750 words) explaining her or his commitment to the study of labor or to involvement with the labor movement and social justice.
  2. A brief letter of support from a teacher or community member.
  3. Up to date contact information, including e-mail, mailing addresses, and phone number.
  4. A highschool or college transcript (which ever is most recent).

Please note in your application if you have applied to the University of Washington but have not yet received notice from the Admissions Office. If this is the case, you are eligible for the scholarship, but the award will be contingent on your admittance to the UW.

Deadline for application for the 2016-2017 academic year

Monday, May 16, 2016

Send applications to

    Andrew Hedden, Program Coordinator
    Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies
    University of Washington
    Box 353530

Previous Winners

  • 2015: Maria Blancas, Derek Dizon
  • 2014: Dimitri Groce
  • 2013: Isaura Jiménez Guerra
  • 2012: Mayra Alcaraz-Rangel, Felisha Palomera
  • 2011: Stephanie Velasco