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.
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.
- Fair Pay for Postdocs: Why We Support New Federal Overtime Rules (Huffington Post)
Joint op-ed by NIH Director Francis Collins and Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, who say that raising postdoc salaries is good for science
- How might overtime change affect middle class? Look at colleges (Christian Science Monitor)
Analyzes the impact of the overtime rule on higher education and features a number of quotes from UAW 5810 President Anke Schennink
- Employers to White House: Give Us More Time on Overtime Rule (Bloomberg BNA)
Highlights how our union and other academic worker unions pushed back against attempts by UC and corporate interests to win exemptions from the rule
- Statement From UAW President Dennis Williams on New Overtime Rules
Statement by UAW President Dennis Williams applauding the new overtime rules
- Millions of Americans’ Pay Could Rise Thanks to New Overtime Rule (NBC Nightly News)
UCLA Head Steward Melissa Agnello talks about the positive impacts of the overtime rules on postdoc working conditions
- New Overtime Rules a Boon for Middle-Class Workers (Newsweek)
Lede features UCLA Head Steward Melissa Agnello talks how overtime rules will impact postdocs and millions of other workers
- San Diego Researchers Could Receive Pay Raise (KPBS, San Diego)
Radio and print interview with UCSD Head Steward Adam Wier on how new rule will improve conditions for UCSD postdocs
- UC postdoctoral scholars to be included in new overtime pay rule (Daily Californian)
Includes interviews with UAW 5810 Executive Board members Lydia Majure and Carly Ebben on how overtime rules will improve conditions for Berkeley postdocs
- Salaried UC employees now eligible for overtime pay despite petition (Daily Bruin)
Featuring interviews with UAW 5810 President Anke Schennink and UCLA Head Steward Melissa Agnello on the impact of overtime rules on UCLA postdocs
- Statement from Future of Research on the Department of Labor Overtime Rule
Future of Research, an advocacy group for junior scientists, release a powerful statement in support of the new rules