UAW 4121

12/15 Mass meeting recap

Last Thursday, hundreds of Postdocs and Research Scientists & Engineers came together in groups across campus to sit in on bargaining between management and the RSE bargaining committee. In this powerful show of solidarity, we demonstrated to management that we will not tolerate continued delays and that Postdocs and RSEs are united in our demands for fair contracts. Thanks to everyone who made it in person and on Zoom!

A collage of pictures with groups of people in physical and virtual Zoom rooms, gathering for the PD/RSE rally

To win fair contracts, we’re going to need to continue organizing to make sure management knows members are united and ready to take action. Please plan to join a mass meeting in early January (1/6/23 at 12pm) to collectively discuss next steps – RSVP here.

12/16 and 12/19 Bargaining recap

Bargaining took place all day Friday and Monday with UW Admin, where we discussed a number of key issues, including wages. Admin’s last proposal would increase the base Postdoc salary above the overtime-eligible threshold ($65,508) in 2023, however their proposal would see Postdoc salaries fall back below the threshold by 2025 (when the threshold will be ~$79,700). Our counter-proposal includes adjustments to keep Postdocs overtime exempt each year, and maintains our experience-based payscale with Postdocs receiving annual raises each year. Another key difference is that Admin’s proposal would apply to Postdoc Scholar Fellows only upon their reappointment anniversary date and wholly exclude Paid-Direct Postdocs, whereas our proposal would adjust wages for every Postdoc in January. Connected with the Wages article, we discussed the Housing article, which would expand affordable housing and provide a housing subsidy to Postdocs to ensure that no one is rent-burdened. Admin claimed that they would not be able to cost the proposal and thus couldn’t bargain over it. We replied that our proposal was connected with our wage proposal, and that housing allowances are a feature of other UW union contracts. 

Transportation and Commute Reduction: Both our proposals would continue the subsidized UPASS program for all Postdocs, however UW Admin’s proposal still made no progress on bike subsidies for Postdocs to support campus wide efforts to reduce car commutes. Management’s last proposal included parts of our proposal to allow for Postdocs to have better access to shower facilities.

Admin’s counterproposal on Time Off and Leave still has significant differences regarding the following topics: additional bereavement leave in cases of significant travel, vacation leave payment and transfer, sick leave transfer, and reasonable accommodation for leave related to domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. We did agree to language related to Military Leave on Friday. 

We also reached a tentative agreement on Article 12 Intellectual Property and Academic Rights, which now contains new language that outlines Postdocs’ rights and protections related to research misconduct.

Though we are making progress, the fight is far from over and bargaining will continue this Wednesday and Thursday, 12/21 and 12/22. There are also five bargaining sessions scheduled in January. As always, all Postdocs are welcome to attend; please reply to this email for additional details. Thanks for your continued support and participation. You can read all the proposals that both parties have made at the Postdoc Bargaining Center page, and please reach out with any questions.

In solidarity,

UWPU/UAW Bargaining Committee
Luci Baker, Mechanical Engineering
Rebecca Bluett, Biochemistry
Brant Bowers, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Tucker Burgin, Chemical Engineering
Pat Erickson, Institute for Protein Design
Jer Steeger, Philosophy