Last week we and our student worker colleagues talked with attendees of the Friedman Brain Institute’s 15th anniversary about Sinai’s opposition to improving our working conditions, and how they can support our joint campaigns.

In their first response to our economic proposals, Sinai rejected most of our proposed changes and offered almost entirely “status quo” benefits. As a whole, their response was utterly insufficient to address the economic challenges postdocs face. Since then, we have been working on a set of responses that re-assert our economic priorities while making reasonable agreements where possible.

We spent most of yesterday’s session trying to understand Sinai’s concerns related to various sections of our economic package to better inform our responses, which are now back on Sinai’s side.

In articles like Housing, Childcare, International Researcher Rights, Retirement, and Relocation Assistance, we re-asserted most of our initial proposals pending further information and reasoning from Sinai. The areas where we made major movements today were:

  • Compensation: In response to Sinai’s move towards a higher starting salary with experience-based raises, we proposed a minimum salary scale starting at $84,000 with $2,500 added per year of postdoc work experience. We maintained the importance of annual cost-of-living adjustments to the salary scale to ensure no loss in purchasing power over the duration of our contract.
  • Insurance Benefits: We accepted status quo benefits for disability and life insurances, while emphasizing the importance of returning to the 2021-2022 health insurance plan.
  • Leaves of Absence: We made significant movement toward agreements on sick time and other types of leaves while reasserting our proposals for parental leave.
  • Parking and Transportation: We accepted Sinai’s proposals for public transportation options while maintaining our proposal for Citi Bike memberships.
  • Wellness: We accepted Sinai’s proposal to maintain the current levels of passes to the 92nd Street Y and other status quo wellness programs.

Sinai also responded to non-economic proposals with limited movement. In Grievance and Arbitration, Sinai agreed to a timeline to hold arbitration hearings but re-asserted a pre-arbitration timeline that exceeds what they provide for unionized residents and nurses at Sinai. In Prohibition Against Discrimination and Harassment, Sinai continued to reject enforceable protections against bullying, as well as several protected categories and an extended timeline to file complaints. Similarly, in Research Integrity and No Strike No Lockout, Sinai made no movement towards our side. Find all of yesterday’s proposals and Sinai’s counters in our bargaining tracker here

Yesterday’s session was an important step forward in understanding Sinai’s position on our economic proposals and demanding more substantial progress. As we continue to assess SInai’s willingness to make progress since our overwhelming strike authorization vote, we want to hear your thoughts: please sign up for one of our working groups here

As always, we appreciate those of you that can attend our bargaining sessions to listen and show Sinai a united front. RSVP here for our next scheduled bargaining sessions on October 18th and 20th.

In solidarity,

Andrea Joseph
Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences
SPOC-UAW Bargaining Committee