Jan 132021
 
 January 13, 2021
UAW 4121

Bargaining Summary

Today, we met with the UW Administration to continue bargaining our contract. Although the UW Admin has had our wage proposal for two months, they have yet to provide a counter-proposal. The UW Admin is currently proposing a shorter contract—extending through the end of the 2022 calendar year—but determining the duration of the contract will ultimately be contingent on the benefits and protections that we can guarantee for Postdocs.

We discussed multiple proposals today:

  • Healthcare: Thanks to every member who signed onto our Paid Direct Postdoc Healthcare petition, attended our October rally, and raised awareness in the UW Daily and other outlets, we’ve clearly communicated to UW Administration that providing healthcare for all Postdocs, regardless of citizenship or source of funding, is a priority. UW Admin has now proposed providing $300/month to Paid-Direct Postdocs who are not currently PEBB-eligible to purchase comparable insurance through the healthcare exchange. We are evaluating this proposal to ensure it provides adequate coverage to anyone affected, but the movement that UW Admin has made on this front is a direct result of engagement from our members to make progress on this issue.
  • Childcare funds: UW Admin proposed maintaining $30k for the 2021 year and increasing funds to $40k for 2022. Understanding the need of Postdoc caregivers, especially during a pandemic, we counterproposed $80k for each year of the contract and more frequent disbursement of funds.
  • Appointments and Reappointments: UW Admin proposed maintaining 1-year appointment and 1-year reappointments. We countered by proposing to maintain 1-year appointments, but provide additional security through 2-year reappointments, similar to the UC system.
  • Titles and Classifications: UW Admin proposed maintaining a 5 year limit for Postdocs. Recognizing that Postdocs’ careers have been disrupted due to COVID-19 and may need more than 5 years, we had earlier proposed that this limit is extended to 6 years. UW Admin also removed our proposed language on Interim Postdocs, which would have adjusted the length of the position from less than 6 months to 6 months, thereby making Interim Postdocs eligible for PEBB health insurance.
  • Corrective Action and Dismissal Article and Layoff Article: the UW Admin made a package proposal that would maintain the current contract language on these two articles, contingent on also maintaining the current contract language on Appointments and Reappointments, as well as Titles and Classifications. Our counter package proposal would incorporate our new language on Appointments and Reappointments, as well as Titles and Classifications, while also maintaining current contract language on the Corrective Action and Dismissal Article and the Layoff Article.
  • Sexual Harassment and Discrimination: UW Admin proposed increasing the funding from one to two 0.5 FTE Postdoctoral Scholar trainers per calendar year for the EPIC (Empowering Prevention and Inclusive Communities) anti-discrimination and harassment training program, but completely removed our previously proposed model of a Peer Equity Team. We countered by agreeing that an increase in overall FTE appointments is important, but maintained our proposal to create a much broader Peer Equity network, comprised of Postdocs and ASEs who would be responsible for working at the department level to improve equity, reduce discrimination and harassment, and improve representation of underrepresented groups.
  • Wages: In our bargaining session on 11/18/20, we made a wage proposal that would increase the Postdoc minimum wage to the 2020 NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship plus an additional two years of experience. Our proposal also included language that would update the Postdoctoral payscale whenever the NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship scale is updated. Additionally, our proposal included guaranteed year-to-year wage increases of at least 4% for all Postdocs. The UW Admin has not provided a counter proposal.

Our next bargaining sessions are January 20th and 25th before our contract expires on January 31st. All members are welcome and encouraged to join in bargaining. To learn more about the bargaining process and get involved, please email uaw4121@uaw4121.org. For a full list of current bargaining proposals and the bargaining updates archive, please visit our Postdoc Bargaining Center.

Membership meeting tomorrow at 5pm

As a reminder, our next membership meeting will be tomorrow, Thursday 1/14 from 5-6pm via Zoom. To access the link and/or call-in number, please fill out this short form. All members in good standing are encouraged to attend, and anyone who is not yet a member can sign up here beforehand. Everyone is encouraged to login five minutes earlier to help expedite the check-in process. The proposed agenda for the meeting is as follows:

  • Approve Agenda
  • Approve Minutes
  • Ongoing organizing
    • Election response
    • Postdoc bargaining
    • ASE bargaining
  • Upcoming actions & events
  • Adjourn

For more information about how the meeting will be structured and how you can use Zoom’s features to participate, check out this page on our website. If you have any specific concerns or accessibility needs, please don’t hesitate to reach out at uaw4121@uaw4121.org.

Sincerely,
UAW 4121 Postdoc Bargaining Committee

Tanya Brown, Biology
Leandro Casiraghi, Biology
Amanda Clouser, Medicinal Chemistry
Max Friedfeld, Chemistry
Tim Mackie, Pharmacology
Erin Morgan, Epidemiology
Elena Pandres, Chemical Engineering