On Wednesday, 12/16, our Postdoc bargaining committee met with management again as part of our negotiations for a successor contract. We exchanged proposals on several articles of our contract including language to expand the childcare fund, provide additional resources to the EPIC anti-discrimination and harassment program, improve appointment security, and ensure that healthcare is accessible for all Postdocs.
Each component of the contract that was discussed today is detailed below. Find copies of all our complete proposals here. The summary is as follows:
Article 4, Appointments and Reappointments:
We proposed minimum two-year appointments and reappointments to improve appointment security and reduce the burden of annual application fees, particularly for international postdocs.
Article 25, Titles and Classifications:
We proposed to increase the maximum length of Postdoc appointments to 6 years, from the current 5 years, in part to mitigate the research and training delays we have experienced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This would expedite the current clause for extraordinary circumstances and ensure that this extension is applied more equitably across campus.
Management signaled that they had little interest in changes to these two Articles, and would prefer the status quo. We insisted that these proposals remain on the table.
We also passed proposals on:
Article 5, Childcare:
We proposed increasing the Postdoc Childcare fund from $30,000 to $100,000 to be able to provide more meaningful support to a greater number of postdoc caregivers. We also proposed quarterly disbursement of these funds, rather than the current annual disbursement, to provide caregivers with more frequent support.
Article 9, Healthcare Benefits:
Management updated the current healthcare article to reflect the current state-level collective agreement on PEBB benefits. We accepted this and added language to guarantee the same healthcare benefits to Paid-Direct Postdocs.
A new article on EPIC Training and Equity Peers:
We proposed expanding the EPIC (Empowering Prevention and Inclusive Communities) anti-discrimination and harassment training program by increasing the number of full-time trainers and developing a Peer Equity Team composed of 40 local area members who would be focused on further integrating EPIC resources and practices at the department level.
Management passed proposals on:
Article 6, Corrective Action and Dismissal:
Management proposed to reduce the 30-day notice of dismissal to 5 days. While we understand why in egregious circumstances an individual’s immediate removal may be warranted, we believe this jeopardizes an employee’s right to due process in a timely manner. We did not pass a proposal back on this but asked to re-open Article 7, Grievance Procedure, so that the grievance timeline is similarly expedited.
Article 14, Layoff:
Management proposed reducing the mandatory minimum notification for layoffs from 60 days to 30 days. Layoffs are mid-contract terminations that are the result of appropriate funding becoming unavailable. These changes in funding have never been the fault of the postdoc and management’s proposal would require that these terminated individuals secure new funding within a month’s time or lose their jobs. We spoke against this proposal.
Article 34, Duration:
Management proposed a 3-year contract duration, to expire January 31, 2024. We responded that we would be willing to consider this duration if our members believe the rest of the contract (including wages) is satisfactory.
Management proposed a 3-year extension of the free U-PASS program, which we accepted.
Management has not yet responded to our proposal on Article 32: Wages, made last month, on increases to Postdoc annual salaries.
We agreed upon three additional bargaining dates for January 13th, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay tuned for additional membership and area meetings in January.
UAW 4121 Postdoc Bargaining Committee
Tanya Brown, Biology
Leandro Casiraghi, Biology
Amanda Clouser, Medicinal Chemistry
Max Friedfeld, Chemistry
Colleen Hoffman, Oceanography
Tim Mackie, Pharmacology
Kim Meier, Psychology
Erin Morgan, Epidemiology
Anzela Niraula, Metabolism, Endocrinology, and Nutrition
Elena Pandres, Chemical Engineering
Kirill Tchernyshyov, Astronomy