November 23, 2022

Yesterday we met with Sinai at the bargaining table for the 5th time. It was great to see several of our fellow postdocs at the session – click here to RSVP for an upcoming bargaining session.

At yesterday’s session, Sinai made four counter proposals. On Union Access and Rights, which would provide enforceable rights to communicate with postdocs about the union, Sinai made two small clarifications to their own language. For Union-Management Committee, which would ensure that we can meet with the Sinai administration during the life of the contract, Sinai shifted to allowing three representatives on the committee from both sides. (We proposed five.)

Sinai also proposed a number of changes related to our appointments that show a worrying lack of awareness of the pressures many postdocs face – particularly those of us who are on visas. On Appointment Security, among other things, Sinai emphasized that they see postdocs as “temporary trainee positions”, and reiterated that they would like to maintain their current ability to terminate appointments without just cause.

On Appointments and Reappointments, Sinai proposed limiting postdocs to three one-year appointments, claiming that this would provide greater “consistency” and opportunities for promotion. We explained that while it might seem more consistent from their point of view, this would reduce stability for most postdocs and make our lives less predictable and secure, without making it any easier to advance in our careers. One-year appointments also detract from productivity, since those of us who are international researchers have to return to our home countries to renew our visas before reappointment, costing us weeks in the lab. In response, Sinai reminded us that even a longer appointments “might be terminated earlier.” We will keep fighting for reasonable appointment lengths and protection against unfair terminations.

After discussing appointments, we spent the remainder of the session asking questions and requesting information regarding several of Sinai’s proposals, including Grievance and ArbitrationDiscipline and Dismissal, and Union Access and Rights

While we craft counters for yesterday’s proposals from Sinai, we are also waiting to receive information requested at our last session so we can give informed responses to some other remaining issues that are on the table. Click here to see what else is currently on the table.

Although the tone of yesterday’s session was civil, it was clear that a lot of work will be needed to show the Sinai administration why these issues matter to us. If you would like to get involved in efforts to build our contract campaign, click here, or sign up for a working group.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or thoughts,

Pablo Knobel
Environmental Medicine and Public Health
SPOC-UAW Bargaining Committee