Postdoc Union Bargaining Update

After several more bargaining sessions in recent weeks and a comprehensive set of initial proposals, the University has so far failed to offer any meaningful improvements in response to the bargaining goals that the majority of us approved in the Fall (see brief update below). We are confident that – with continued majority support from Postdocs – we can negotiate a fair union contract just as our Graduate Assistant colleagues have done twice in recent years. However, UConn’s approach so far suggests that we should start taking active steps to help ensure that the University moves more quickly to agree to fair improvements.

Please click here if you would like to get more involved and help with our efforts to win fair improvements for Postdocs in our first contract

We will hold a town hall lunch (pizza and drinks provided) on Thursday, January 17th from 12:00 – 2:00 PM in Biology/Physics Building (BPB) 201 to discuss bargaining. Please RSVP here if you would like to stop by.

So far, the UConn bargaining team has made proposals that do not match the tremendous value that we provide to the core research mission of the University, are totally unacceptable and verge on insulting:

    • While we proposed improvements to the total amount of time off available each year, including a new right to paid family leave, the University proposed a reduction in the total amount of vacation, sick leave and holidays and has rejected family leave
    • They want to deny us the same strong protections from sexual harassment and discrimination that GAs have won through their union (including access to union representation and the right to take a complaint to a neutral arbitrator rather than a University administrator)
    • They proposed to continue denying retirement benefits to Postdocs, even though virtually every other full-time state employee receives such benefits (including UConn Health Center Postdocs)
    • They proposed to continue forcing Postdocs to pay significantly higher “non-union” health insurance premiums than other union-represented employees, including faculty.
    • They proposed to give a one-time $6 increase to the minimum annual salary and eliminate any guarantee of future wage increases, breaking with the NIH policy

We will be glad to discuss all of these issues in more detail and answer any questions at the town hall meeting, including the current policies that govern our work, and more details about proposed improvements. We encourage Postdocs to attend and learn more about this process.

Given the slow pace of negotiations so far, we plan to ask Postdocs to vote soon on authorizing our Bargaining Committee to invoke interest arbitration if it becomes necessary later in bargaining. Interest arbitration is a process under Connecticut state law (in lieu of striking) that allows a Union to take bargaining disputes to a neutral arbitrator to reach a final contract. We hope to reach agreement with UConn without having to invoke interest arbitration, but taking the vote sends a message that we are serious about getting a contract done by the end of this academic year. We will provide more information about this soon.

In solidarity,

UConn Postdoc Union, UAW Local 6950 Bargaining Committee

Christina Baer, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Kirsten Grond, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology

Artemis Louyakis, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology

James Mickley, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Neranjan Perera, Institute for Systems Genomics