Reminder: Hundreds of Postdocs have voted in our strike authorization, which ends Thursday. If you haven’t already, please vote Yes right now!
Bargaining Summary: short version. Admin refuses to budge on providing information about why they suddenly think Postdocs are not covered by living wage/overtime laws; refuses to provide information we requested about the details or costs of their plans which would almost certainly result in hours tracking; inserts additional language prohibiting PIs from supplementing the income of Paid-Direct fellowships from any UW sources; makes a bit of positive movement on Postdoc Fellow increases in 2023.
Bargaining Summary: more details. In our bargaining sessions Friday 2/10, UW Admin doubled down on their newfound position that Postdocs are not covered under Washington wage laws and continued to refuse to offer any explanation of the legal reasoning or what changed to cause this shift. This increasingly appears to be a strategy to get us to agree to a contract devoid of future wage increases and almost certainly requiring hours reporting, based only on a vague and shifting conception of the law. We continue to hold the position that Postdocs are covered by the law, and informed them that their conduct constitutes bad faith bargaining and that we will be taking additional steps to hold them accountable.
Their Compensation proposal also now includes additional language making clear that Postdoctoral Scholar Paid-Directs (about 7% of our members) can not receive additional funding from any UW entity (including their PIs). This language would force Postdocs with Paid-Direct Scholarships under $53,760 to decline their funding source upon renewal if they want to continue working at UW, even if their Department or PI wishes to supplement their pay. This self-defeating policy – which we recently learned UW Admin had unilaterally implemented in violation of the existing collective bargaining agreement – is currently being challenged through a union grievance and we intend to continue to fight it. It is yet another reversal of long-held policy that enables PIs to bring in better candidates, reward good work, and take advantage of external funding sources. We know that PI’s are joining our bargaining committee in calling for Admin to drop this policy: if you know of one who would like to assist in this advocacy please email us.
Last: Admin made some movement toward us by agreeing to raise Postdoctoral-Fellows (not paid-direct Postdocs) whose fellowships allow supplementary pay to the Postdoctoral Scholar salary threshold before their reappointment date if it falls after July 1. This is positive but we ask: Do they really need 5 months to sort out whether a fellowship allows for supplementary pay? This compounds the insult of Admin’s refusal to provide any answers for what their system of hours reporting for postdocs would be.
The bottom line is this: Our proposal costs UW less money than admin’s proposal (we think their refusal to estimate the relative costs of our proposals only confirms this). Our proposal also gives Postdocs more options to work and maintains UW’s competitiveness. Even more, by not allowing PIs to supplement paid direct fellowships, admin creates a system to actively discourage postdocs from applying for outside funding and endangers the employment of postdocs depending on this funding.
You can see the details of our proposals here on the Bargaining Portal.
What can you do to help strengthen our collective power?
- Vote yes for a strike authorization. Polls close Thursday 2/16/2023 at 5:00pm.
- Frequently asked questions about the SAV are answered here: https://www.uaw4121.org/postdoc-sav-faq/
- Know any other postdocs? Tell them to vote yes on a strike authorization.
- Are they not currently a part of the union? They can join here: https://www.uaw4121.org/get-involved/join-your-union/
- Does your PI think that central admin shouldn’t be allowed to prevent them from supplementing Paid Direct wages?
Thank you for all you’re doing and for your continued support.
UAW 4121 Postdoc 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