March 19, 2023

On Friday we had our 15th bargaining session with Mount Sinai. It was great to have over 50 postdocs join us at the session. If you would like to see first-hand how the bargaining process works with Mount Sinai, click here and we will let you know when Sinai has responded to our proposed dates.

On Friday evening, Deans Nestler and Filizola sent an email claiming to “set the record straight” about our negotiations. It appears that Sinai is concerned postdocs are growing frustrated with the current pace of bargaining. If the administration wants to address this concern, they should accept our proposals for basic rights that other unionized postdocs already have, like protections against unfair terminations, immediate supportive measures for harassment and bullying, and a timely grievance process. We want to establish these foundational elements of our contract first, since none of them come with a significant financial cost and we shouldn’t have to weigh them against economic improvements in areas like salary or housing.

In the bargaining session, 3rd year postdoc Sindhu Vangeti delivered a powerful statement, conveying to Sinai that their lack of movement on proposals and time devoted to sessions are disappointing. Sinai presented two counters, on Workload and Appointments and Reappointments. Sinai’s team also rejected our proposal to extend all current postdoc housing to December 2023 or the end of bargaining. Sinai claimed that this would prevent incoming postdocs from receiving housing, but failed to provide relevant vacancy data to support their claims. We reminded Sinai that we are in the midst of a historic housing crisis with many postdocs facing an impossible NYC rental market at the end of their lease.  

We presented five counter proposals. Track our bargaining progress here. On Workload, we responded to Sinai’s counter from March 8th by reasserting language to protect postdocs from unreasonable workloads. On Professional Development, we moved closer towards agreement, accepting some of their language while maintaining support for professional development through grants and teaching opportunities. On Training we reached a tentative agreement, and on Employment Records, we are fairly close to an agreement. On Discipline and Dismissal, we continue to push back against Sinai’s November 9th proposal of discipline and dismissal without cause. We have seen how disruptive unfair terminations can be, especially for international postdocs who are left with only three months to find alternative employment to be able to stay in the country. 

A postdoc who attended the session shared a response to the discussion:

“As someone who recently went through the ordeal of getting fired without cause, it’s disheartening and disappointing to see that Sinai management has not yet agreed to strong protections against unjust terminations. With the help of my union representatives and OPA I was lucky enough to find another appointment, but others might not be so lucky. That’s why it’s critical that we have these kinds of protections in our contract. Instead, postdocs are consistently being made to feel unimportant.” –Ananya Mukherjee, Department of Medicine – Hematology

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions or thoughts.

In solidarity,

Pooja Viswanathan
Bargaining Committee member