HIGHLIGHTS OF TENTATIVE AGREEMENT
UAW POSTDOCS UNION AND UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT
The bargaining committee unanimously recommends ratification of this agreement. The agreement ensures substantial economic improvements and establishes critical new workplace rights for all Postdocs. As such, we believe the agreement will not only improve our standard of living as Postdocs, but will also help make UConn a more equitable, inclusive, and competitive research institution.
Key highlights of the agreement include:
- 10% initial total monetary gain (salary, retirement, healthcare savings) for most Postdocs
- Includes access to retirement benefits for the first time ever
- Minimum 3% annual pay increase upon each future reappointment
- Enhanced protections against sexual and other forms of harassment and discrimination
- Paid maternity and parental leave
- Significant cost savings for the same level of health insurance coverage
- 10% initial total monetary gain (salary, retirement, healthcare savings) for most Postdocs
See below for a complete summary. You may click hyperlinks to read full language for each topic and can read the entire tentative agreement here.
COMPENSATION AND OTHER ECONOMIC BENEFITS
Current Postdocs (hired on or before December 13, 2019 and still on payroll as of March 1, 2020) will receive total salary increases ranging from 1.5% to 4.0% in the first year of the contract. The minimum salary will be increased to $50,500 on March 1, 2020, and the minimum will increase to match any future increases to the Year 0 minimum for NIH-NRSA stipends. All Postdocs will receive a minimum of a 3% annual salary increase upon each reappointment after the first year.
Postdocs will save between $800 and $3200 per year in premium costs by moving to the CT Partnership Plan 1.0, the same plan that covers our Graduate Assistant colleagues. Because of the unique demographics of our two workforces, we will receive the same benefits and coverage as before but for lower premiums. As part of our agreement, current Postdocs (those on the payroll as of December 13, 2019), who have been paying more for healthcare than any other unionized employees throughout our negotiations, will also receive extra premium relief by paying $0 for coverage between 7/1/2020 and 12/31/2020, an additional savings of $320 to $950.
Postdocs will now have the option to participate in the CT Alternative Retirement Plan (ARP). Participating Postdocs will make a 5% pre-tax contribution with a 6.5% match by UConn. In the first year of participation, a Postdoc may choose a phase-in of 2.5% contribution and 3.25% employer match. A Postdoc may transfer this money to another qualifying retirement account upon leaving UConn, or withdraw it before retirement (subject to ordinary taxes because the contributions were pre-tax and usually a 10% early withdrawal penalty). See IRS Withdrawal Rules.
Holidays, Vacation, and Sick/Bereavement Leaves
For each appointment year, Postdocs shall receive the following:
- 12 Holidays where Postdocs shall not normally be required to work; if a PI determines it necessary to work on a holiday, the Postdoc may arrange an alternative day off.
- 2 days of “personal leave” that may be used for any reason, including religious observance.
- 22 days of vacation “time off” per appointment
- 15 days of sick leave (5 can be used for bereavement leave; 10 can be used for care for a family member/partner)
- Leave Donation Bank and Extended Sick Leave: Postdocs may donate up to three days of unused vacation days to a leave bank to be used by other Postdocs needing extended sick leave beyond their 15 days. Postdocs can receive up to 30 additional days through donation.
A Postdoc who gives birth shall receive six weeks (eight weeks if caesarian) of maternity leave and a non-birth parent (including adoptive parents) shall receive three weeks of parental leave with full pay.
Postdocs and family members shall have access to the Employee Assistance Program.
UConn must provide 30 days notice (60 days if the Postdoc has been employed for 3 years) before a layoff occurs. Prior to the decision, UConn must provide an explanation and meet with the Postdoc and Union to explore any alternatives.
UConn shall reimburse Postdocs for all travel required for work.
For any required training or workshops, UConn shall consider training time as part of the normal workload and reimburse any associated costs.
Postdocs shall follow existing state and university ethics codes regarding employment outside UConn.
Childcare and Tuition Benefits
We did not reach agreement on these topics, but the Union retains the right to “re-open” negotiations over childcare subsidies and tuition benefits by notifying the University no later than October 1, 2020.
Establishes a timely and fair process for resolving alleged violations of our contract. While the contract encourages informal resolution of disputes, Postdocs and the Union also have the right to take an unresolved dispute to a neutral arbitrator. Postdocs also have the right to an expedited grievance and arbitration process, which could help an international scholar whose visa status may be jeopardized by delayed proceedings following a termination of their appointment without just cause.
Provides stronger protections against sexual and other forms of discrimination and harassment. In addition to existing procedures, Postdocs can now pursue such complaints through the union grievance and arbitration procedure, which enables a more timely, cost-free and fair process with access to interim protective measures and advocacy throughout the process.
Appointments and Reappointments
Ensures that Postdocs will typically receive one-year appointments, with shorter or longer appointments allowable for justifiable circumstances.
Improves Postdocs’ security by establishing “just cause” protections against arbitrary discipline or termination. UConn therefore must establish good cause for a Postdoc to be fired or disciplined.
Establishes Postdocs’ right to access, copy, challenge the accuracy of, and add comments to their employment files.
Improves Postdocs’ ability to protect ourselves from working in unsafe or hazardous conditions including: the right to grieve violations of the University’s health and safety policies; the right to relevant health and safety training; provision of proper equipment; protections from being assigned work that poses an imminent threat; provision of proper equipment; protection against retaliation for raising health and safety concerns; and union participation on the university-wide health and safety committee.
Ensures that Postdocs have the same rights as other UConn employees on intellectual property, have authorship rights in keeping with academic norms, and have protection from retaliation for raising intellectual property complaints. Postdocs are granted a license to use intellectual property they created at UConn in future teaching or research for other jobs.
If a Postdoc’s return to the US is delayed by a background check, UConn may place the Postdoc on unpaid leave, and may allow the Postdoc to work remotely, in compliance with any laws.
Postdocs shall have the right to purchase parking permits through payroll deduction, use their permit in comparable lots at other campuses, and have one seat on the Transportation Advisory Committee.
Postdocs will have the right to work with their PI/mentor to develop an Individual Development Plan (IDP). Supervisors may perform annual written evaluations to provide feedback and help ensure that postdocs are meeting their career goals.
Establishes that a typical workload for a full-time Postdoc is 40 hours per week.
Commits UConn to provide workspace, facilities, equipment and materials necessary for Postdocs to perform assigned duties.
UNION AND UNIVERSITY RIGHTS
Codifies recognition of the Union and description of the unit represented by the Union.
Duration (Terms and Scope of Agreement)
Establishes that contract is in effect through June 30, 2024 and that our health and retirement benefits are in effect until June 30, 2027 in conjunction with all other state employees.
Establishes a process for UConn to deduct dues and fees from Postdocs who choose to be members of the Union, deduct voluntary political action donations from Postdoc union members, and remit all such dues and fees to the Union on a regular basis.
Ensures that UConn will provide the Union with basic information about Postdocs in the bargaining unit, will provide reasonable time for Postdoc union representatives to handle grievances and/or participate in contract negotiations, and will provide access for all new Postdocs to receive orientation from a union representative at new employee orientation.
Establishes a joint committee to meet twice per year to discuss matters affecting Postdocs that are not related to any active grievances.
Codifies the right of the Board of Trustees to direct and manage the affairs of the University except as otherwise modified by our collective bargaining agreement.
During the life of the contract, the union and University agree they will resolve disputes under the contract through the process in the contract. To that end, the union agrees that it will not encourage or sanction a strike and the University agrees it will not lock out employees.
Ensures that if any provision of the contract is found to be unlawful, the rest of the contract remains in effect and the parties will negotiate with respect to the provision found to be unlawful.