Postdocs Win Major Victory on DOL Overtime Rule!



UAW 5810 members visited legislators including Reps. Nancy Pelosi, Mark Takano, John Garamendi, Ted Lieu, Mark DeSaulnier, and Scott Peters to ask for their support in fighting for fair pay for postdocs.

Under a new rule from the Department of Labor (DOL), postdocs must be paid more than $47,476 annually to remain exempt from overtime rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This is a tremendous win as it will lead to higher salaries for thousands of UC postdocs, postdocs around the country and millions of other workers.

UAW 5810 members, along with UAW members nationally and our fellow higher education unions, were instrumental in ensuring the new overtime regulations became a reality, even as right-wing forces (joined by the University of California) pushed hard to exclude postdocs or defeat the rules altogether. Postdocs met with Congress and members of the Obama administration, submitted public comments, and communicated with the public.

In their editorial in the Huffington Post, NIH Director Francis Collins and Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez wrote:

We are fully supportive of the increased salary threshold for postdocs…we agree with a number of leaders in biomedical science who have bemoaned the current state of affairs, arguing that postdoctoral fellows are generally paid salaries that do not adequately reflect their advanced education and expertise. Some experts have even explicitly called for starting pay for biomedical postdocs to rise to at least $50,000 annually.

This is a major step in the right direction and demonstrate the power of collective action, but more is needed. We will carry this momentum into our upcoming contract negotiations, where we will continue to push for compensation that adequately reflects our value to the university.

Media Coverage

UC postdocs received a wide array of local and national media coverage as a result of being on the front lines of this fight for increasing the overtime threshold.