We are Mount Sinai postdocs forming a union to improve the postdoc experience at Mount Sinai and to increase our voice as researchers locally and nationally.
Postdocs make essential contributions to the world-class research conducted at Mount Sinai, but many of us still struggle to pay high housing and other costs in New York City, lack secure rights in the workplace, and face increasing uncertainty about our futures given the precarious nature of science funding and unstable regulation of visas and work authorization in recent years.
We join a growing national movement of researchers and other academics forming unions with the UAW to improve our lives and our work. UAW postdocs and graduate student workers across the country have made a difference advocating for science research funding, fair visa and immigration policies, and better working conditions in all academic institutions.
We have already seen the power of organized postdocs at major research institutions to dramatically improve their working conditions through unionization with United Auto Workers, including right here in NYC where researchers at Columbia University formed the first union for postdocs at a private institution in the United States, UAW Local 4100. By building on their experience we can continue to raise standards for researcher working conditions across the city.
Hear from some colleagues about why we are forming a union at Mount Sinai.
“I believe unionising is the best way to gain leverage in negotiations over our working conditions. As postdocs, we are a highly educated workforce that provides the backbone of Mount Sinai’s research mission, attracting some of the highest NIH grant awards in the US. However, instead of being compensated fairly for our years of expertise, we earn less every year in real terms due to the lack of guaranteed annual raises that take inflation into account. With fair salary increases, Sinai would be able to both attract and retain its postdoctoral talents, and we could finally focus on what we are hired for—the science—instead of worrying about our living conditions.” – Yajing Xu, Neuroscience
“I believe forming a union will help us build a stronger voice as international postdocs. The time and costs associated with visa processing and renewals can create unnecessary stress and distract us from time in the lab and focusing on our research. With a union we can negotiate for improved compensation and more time off, which can help ease these stresses. And by joining together with thousands of other international researchers as part of the UAW, we can have greater influence over making national visa and immigration policies smoother and more efficient.” – Oded Danziger, Microbiology
“Although all of us are highly skilled scientific workers, our postdoc years are filled with uncertainty, financial pressures and unreasonable work hours. By forming a union we can use our collective power to help address these problems, by negotiating for higher and more equitable salaries and greater job stability to make our lives more predictable and secure. Working together towards building an inclusive and enriching scientific environment will benefit us all.” – Pooja Viswanathan, Neuroscience
“Most postdocs are biologically in the prime childbearing years but for many of them, with childcare costs and rent in NYC taking up most of the average postdoc salary, the prospect of starting a family seems impossible. Mount Sinai risks losing researchers who can’t afford childbearing in NYC. This issue disproportionately affects women, exacerbating the gender gap in senior research positions. Forming a Union will give postdocs more power to negotiate for much-needed better working conditions and to promote gender equality in research.” – Judit Garcia Gonzalez, Genetics and Genomic Sciences