Yesterday, we had a short bargaining session to make progress on non-economic proposals before Sinai’s anticipated response to our economic proposals on September 29. We continued to discuss just cause protections, with Sinai reiterating their desire to retain the right to fire postdocs without a performance-related reason at the beginning of our appointments. We pushed back, emphasizing the importance of just cause protections for our entire appointments. We will keep fighting for the same basic just cause standards that exist in all other postdoc union contracts.

RSVP for our informational picket Thursday at noon – to demonstrate to Sinai that we are serious about reaching a fair contract that includes real job security.

It was disappointing to hear Sinai’s position, arguing that terminating postdocs with a just cause is “a burden that the institution is not prepared to assume”, because it takes a lot of time and effort to terminate with a just cause, and that they want to preserve their ability to “cut the cord” when it needs to be cut. I wonder: what about the burden of moving to a different country or continent, usually with a family, and being terminated without just cause? —  Judit Garcia Gonzalez, Genetics and Genomic Sciences

We presented several counter proposals in yesterday’s session in an attempt to close non-economic proposals. First, we made a package proposal with Prohibition against Discrimination & Harassment and Policies and Procedures. We agreed that Sinai can change existing policies, as long as they provide sufficient notice and bargain over the effects of those changes.. We also accepted Sinai’s language on certain protected classes, pregnancy-related accommodations, and a deadline to report violations.

We made a second package proposal with No Strike No LockoutGrievance & Arbitration, and Research Integrity. It has been almost a year since we first proposed a neutral grievance process, which is why it was disappointing that Sinai only introduced No Strike No Lockout at our last session. Agreeing not to strike during the contract term without a timely and enforceable Grievance & Arbitration article would leave us without an effective means of addressing complaints. Therefore, we accepted the concept of a No Strike article today while maintaining a similar timeline for being able to file for neutral arbitration that other unionized workers at Sinai have. 

In order to ensure that Sinai knows that we are serious about reaching a strong contract, we need a large turnout for our informational picket next Thursday!
Please RSVP to let us know if you can make it.

Mount Sinai’s side said that they would bring a full economic package, and potentially add more bargaining time, to the next session on September 29 (RVSP here). Your attendance at the informational picket on Thursday and the bargaining session on Friday will send a strong message to Sinai about the importance of reaching a fair contract now.

In solidarity,
Lukas Bethlehem