This morning we met with the UW administration for our second bargaining meeting. We made proposals on the following articles:
- Increasing the Postdoc minimum pay scale to match the National Institutes of Health National Research Service Award (NRSA) payscale plus two additional years of Postdoctoral experience;
- Automatic updates to the payscale when the NIH NRSA payscale is updated;
- 4% salary increase every year on the anniversary of the Postdoc appointment for Postdocs paid above the minimum payscale.
- Continuing the fully subsidized U-PASS benefit to Postdocs
- Including Paid-Direct Postdocs as eligible employees for PEBB healthcare
We also agreed to maintain the following Collective Bargaining Agreement Articles during the bargaining process: Articles 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 28, 29, 30, 31, 33, in addition to MOU Immigration Status and Visas and MOU Time Reporting. [EDIT: an earlier post listed Article 27 and did not include the MOUs]
A majority of the session focused on healthcare access for Paid-Direct Postdocs. We argued that all Postdocs should be eligible for employer sponsored insurance and not be discriminated against based on their paid-direct status. This policy disproportionately impacts International Scholars who bring in external funding to the University. We also pointed out that this is a fixable problem: UW administration has authority to designate Paid Direct Postdocs as eligible employees and no state law or rule stands in the way. Thanks to appeals by multiple UW Paid Direct Postdocs to the Washington State Health Care Authority, we’ve seen opinions on two separate occasions stating that the University – not the state – is responsible for making the determination of employee status. We pointed out that Paid Direct Postdocs at institutions like the University of California receive the same full health care benefits as any other Postdoc. Additionally, Paid Direct postdocs are UW employees in many other ways: they receive appointment letters stating that UW is the hiring unit, they do work in UW labs and generate tremendous value in University research, they are subject to UW policies, and more. The administration’s response was again inadequate: they told us they don’t consider Paid Direct Postdocs to be employees because (1) they can’t figure out how to collect health insurance premiums since they aren’t paid through through the UW payroll system; and (2) they just don’t consider them employees. We reiterated our intention to continue pushing for a fix to this critical issue and made a proposal to this effect. We hope to receive a more productive response at or before our next session.
The next bargaining session is Wednesday, Dec 16th, starting at 8am. All members are welcome and encouraged to join in bargaining. To learn more about the bargaining process and get involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also mark your calendars for a zoom meeting Monday Dec 14 at 4:30 pm (PT) to discuss bargaining proposals and strategies for winning a strong contract — RSVP here!
UAW 4121 Postdoc Bargaining Committee
Tanya Brown, Biology
Leandro Casiraghi, Biology
Amanda Clouser, Medicinal Chemistry
Max Friedfeld, Chemistry
Kim Meier, Psychology
Erin Morgan, Epidemiology
Anzela Niraula, Metabolism, Endocrinology, and Nutrition
Elena Pandres, Chemical Engineering
Simon Snoeck, Biology
Hally Stone, Oceanography