Today we met Mount Sinai for the 16th time at the bargaining table, almost a month after our last bargaining session. Despite the long break, Sinai had only prepared counter proposals for four out of the nine articles on their side: Prohibition Against Discrimination and Harassment, Union Security, Union Access and Rights, and Workload. Overall, Sinai made very few changes from their previous proposals on these topics.

On Prohibition Against Discrimination And Harassment, we clarified again that many of the protected classifications in our proposal, such as culture and socioeconomic background, are already included in Sinai’s own policies and should be included in our contract. Sinai also acknowledged that early reporting of harassment should be encouraged, but rejected the idea of an expedited timeline for these issues despite their time-sensitive nature. Sinai’s proposed timeline would require a survivor of harassment to wait over four months before appealing to neutral third-party arbitration.

On Union Security and Union Access and Rights, Sinai made some movement but continued to reject standard provisions for having a strong union and enforce our contractual rights, such as access to Sinai’s electronic mail system to communicate with our colleagues. 

On Workload, Sinai agreed that work schedules should not unreasonably exceed 37.5 hours but insisted that postdocs should be required to work a minimum number of hours per week, despite the fact that our schedules change in response to research needs. Disturbingly, the example they included of an unreasonable workload was “working more than 60 hours each week for more than three (3) consecutive months”. This standard would not provide necessary protection against abuse and unnecessarily long hours, which was our primary intention with this article.

We presented two counterproposals: Intellectual Property and Appointments and Reappointments. In Intellectual Property, we agreed to most of Sinai’s proposed language, and hope to reach a tentative agreement on this issue soon. On Appointments and Reappointments, we continued to push for more stable and predictable minimum two-year initial appointments and three-year reappointments, which would make Sinai a more attractive workplace in an increasingly competitive Postdoc environment.

We ended the session by discussing Sinai’s last counter on Appointment Security, which would maintain Sinai’s ability to terminate postdocs without providing any performance-related reason. We will continue fighting for a fair process when it comes to the termination of our appointments

Our next bargaining session is on April 27 – please click here to attend the session!

As always, don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or thoughts.

In solidarity,

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