Yesterday we took our first steps in bargaining with the University for a better, more just, equitable, and worker-centered contract for Postdocs! This contract is a big deal. It will define our conditions of work, our ability to seek redressal from UC, our protections from harassment and workplace discrimination, our compensation and benefits, and our rights to organize in and for our workplaces. Our contract covers all 6,500+ Postdocs, and our bargaining process will decide how long this contract is valid. One year? Five years? It’s up to us to win the contract that we want.

This contract is historic. It’s our post-COVID contract. Although the pandemic is hardly over, this contract marks a turning point. Research has been upended across UC campuses by our new health and safety realities. Decisions about international visas, remote work, new hires, research funding, relocation and commuting expenses, and more have become contingent on the University’s COVID policies. Moreover, health and leave issues stemming from the virus have exposed weaknesses in our medical benefits and contract structure that require renewed attention.

What type of contract can adequately respond to these changed working conditions? Will the University try to use the pandemic to claw back our past contract wins and impose cuts? We know that austerity-minded institutions never let a good crisis go to waste. It’s up to us to hold the University accountable and to push for a UC that supports us — its researchers and scholars — in these unprecedented times. It’s up to us to build from the past and outline a new contract that protects all of our members.

It’s going to take all of us working together. All of our members can join for weekly bargaining committee meetings — send an email to uaw5810@uaw5810.org to get involved.

If you’re not already a member, we need your voice and support to build a winning platform. You can join right now using this online form. If you have more questions about union membership or bargaining, use the contact form here to be put in touch with one of your campus stewards.

At the Bargaining Table
Our first meeting covered bargaining “ground rules.” While these are not the juicy, issue-based negotiations that our bargaining team lives for, the ground rules define how our bargaining functions. The details matter. These issues range from who is allowed to attend bargaining sessions, the format (remote or in-person), and ensuring the sessions are accessible.

While the final ground rules will be hammered out over the next several meetings, there is a clear dividing line emerging between our two sides. UC’s team has placed a premium on putting as many restrictions as possible to limit Postdoc participation. Meanwhile, our team has emphasized accessibility — making bargaining meetings open to our members and facilitated in a manner that allows for all Postdocs, including those with disabilities, to participate — and democracy — insisting that all of our members can take part in the bargaining process.

Get involved! Your participation is essential to winning a strong contract.
The bargaining committee holds weekly meetings that are open to all Postdoc members, simply reply to this email to get involved. Please come to hear bargaining updates, push new issues, and deliberate on bargaining strategy. To keep up with bargaining in real-time, follow us on twitter @UAW5810!

In Solidarity,

Postdoc Bargaining Team and Alternates
Sarah Arveson, UC Berkeley
Gilbert Bernstein, UC Berkeley
Chris Hart, UC Davis
Adam M. Schneider, UC Irvine
Zachary Zeidler, UCLA
Lejla Medzikovic, UCLA
Brad Barker, UC Merced
Ingrid Padilla Espinosa, UC Merced
Tyler Bell, UC San Diego
Adam Caparco, UC San Diego
Jade Moore, UCSF
Putu Ustriyana, UCSF
Caitlin Taylor, UC Santa Barbara
Heda Agic, UC Santa Barbara
Jacob Porter, UC Santa Cruz
Jasmeet Dhaliwal, UC Santa Cruz