Today, during our 23rd bargaining session, we received Sinai’s responses to our Just Cause packageIntellectual Property, and Union Access articles, while we presented a response on Recreation, Wellness, Prohibition against Discrimination and Harassment, and Grievance & Arbitration.

On just cause, Sinai presented a counter to Discipline and Dismissal that accepts our removal of no-cause termination upon two conditions: that postdocs are subject to a Probationary Period for the initial months of their appointment, and that an annual Performance Review can be used as evidence towards just cause termination. In Appointments & Reappointments, Sinai conditionally accepted our proposal of a two-year minimum appointment length, with exceptions for shorter & longer appointments if the postdoc and PI agree. Minor changes were proposed by Sinai in Appointment Security.

On Intellectual Property, Sinai responded to our proposal that postdocs who obtain their PI’s pre-approval to write a research grant (excluding training fellowships) shall be given authorship credit. Sinai countered with a stricter pre-approval process and maintained that any disputes regarding approval or authorship are barred from grievance and arbitration. In discussion, we insisted that the pre-approval process is already a high standard for grant authorship and postdocs deserve the option for recourse with a neutral third-party if needed. 

“These kinds of things make Sinai a worse place to do science. It shows they are not ready to help our career.”- Balu Pai, postdoc in Pathology, referring to the lack of enforceable intellectual property rights at Sinai

On Prohibition against Discrimination and Harassment, we reiterated that their most recent proposal was unresponsive to our concerns and returned the article with minor changes. Similarly, on Grievance & Arbitration, we continued to stress the importance of expeditious timelines comparable to agreements with other unionized workers at Sinai.

On Wellness, we pushed back on Sinai’s language maintaining the currently inadequate levels of postdoc access to the 92nd Street Y and emphasized that all postdocs deserve this benefit.

We are close to tentative agreements on Recreation, which would maintain our current access to cultural institutions and events through the Recreation Office, and Union Access, which gives union representatives access to campus and the postdoc -community email list-serv.

We were disappointed to not receive any additional counters from the economic package. On whether those responses would be ready by our next bargaining session on August 9th (RSVP here), we heard “I have no idea” and “it’s unlikely” from members of their team. At our mass meeting yesterday, in response to the frustratingly slow pace of bargaining, over 100 postdocs from across Sinai voiced support for a strike authorization vote.

“If they’re not ready by the 9th, we should be ready with something else to show that we won’t wait any longer.”- Ananya Mukherjee, postdoc in Medicine

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

Andrea Joseph
SPOC-UAW Bargaining Committee