Since receiving Sinai’s proposal on Thursday, our bargaining committee has been working around the clock on a response that reflects our essential contract priorities and feedback from postdocs across campus.
In the interest of giving the Sinai administration time to read and prepare a response to our counter proposal before Monday’s session, we sent our proposal by email earlier today. You can read the articles contained in our full counter proposal here.
In a major effort to reach a fair agreement before our strike deadline, we made significant movement toward Sinai. Here are some highlights:
- Conditional Agreements: We reached conditional agreements on 13 articles: Appointment Security, Discipline and Dismissal, Holidays, International Researcher Rights, Parking and Transportation, Performance Reviews, Policies and Procedures, Professional Development, Relocation Assistance, Retirement, Travel, Vacation, and Wellness.
- Compensation & Childcare: Sinai has argued that their last salary proposal includes $1000/year in recognition of postdocs’ childcare needs. We’re glad Sinai has finally acknowledged that this is a legitimate cost to be addressed. However, $1000 is far from sufficient to cover childcare costs and this approach is not equitable for parents. Sinai has refused to provide information on how many postdocs are parents, so it is difficult to assess exactly how much support is needed. To help address this issue while still moving towards an agreement, we revised our proposals, moving to a new minimum postdoc salary of $77,500, while dramatically lowering our demand for dedicated childcare funds. This represents an 8% raise after adjusting for inflation over the last five years since Sinai, raised minimum salaries, while still providing resources for postdocs to start or raise a family if they choose to.
- On Housing, we maintained the importance of Sinai housing for the duration of our appointments and increased transparency, while letting Sinai offer alternative options when there is a lack of sufficient vacancies. These benefits are on par with those offered to residents and student workers and would demonstrate a significant commitment to the value we bring to the institution.
- On Parental Leave, we brought our demands for fully paid parental leave much closer to Sinai’s position, while remaining in step with family-friendly standards won by other unionized postdocs.
- On Union Security, we reasserted our proposal for a union shop, which would ensure we have the resources to have a strong collective voice at Sinai, and to advocate more broadly at the national level for issues that matter to us and Sinai, like federal science funding and immigration reform. Postdocs at Columbia, the University of California, and the University of Washington have won this type of provision in their contracts.
- On Appointments & Reappointments, throughout bargaining we have emphasized the need for longer minimum appointments to increase job stability at Sinai. In recognition of Sinai’s desire for shorter initial appointments and in the interest of reaching an agreement, today we agreed to one-year minimum initial appointments with two-year minimum reappointments once a postdoc has been integrated into the lab. To minimize the impact for incoming international postdocs, we included language previously proposed by Sinai to provide extended DS2019 authorizations where funding allows.
- Grievance & Arbitration: We agreed to Sinai’s request for a longer timeline to respond to grievances while reiterating the need for a timely decision in the second step of the process, for a total length that is consistent with other unionized postdocs;
- In Prohibition on Discrimination and Harassment we agreed to remove written descriptions of bullying and abusive conduct from our contract while making clear that this type of behavior, as defined in Sinai’s existing policies, is prohibited and grievable. We also moved towards Sinai on extended reporting timelines and immediate and supportive measures.
- In Duration we proposed that our contract would run retroactively from July 1, 2023, to July 1, 2025. Based on Sinai’s current offer a two-year agreement is appropriate, and would give us sufficient time to establish our union while affording postdocs two years from now the opportunity to negotiate further improvements.
While this new package proposal is the product of an intensive effort to bridge the still existing gap between us and Sinai, it’s important that we continue to prepare to strike to make sure we can win our remaining priorities. It is more important than ever that you participate:
- Our strike and picket line begins at 9am on Wednesday! Once we’ve gotten warmed up, we’ll hold a Strike Kick-Off Rally at 10am at E 99th and Madison Ave with NYC elected and community allies. Sign up for the Wednesday morning shift if you haven’t already!
- Talk with your strike captain and other postdocs about the importance of continuing to escalate pressure on critical issues ahead of the strike deadline.
- Sign up to join the picket lines. While on strike, it’s important that all of us come out to the picket lines to make our strike visible and show Sinai the urgency of reaching an agreement. Strike benefits require 20 hours of strike duty per week
- Ask your PI to sign this letter from concerned faculty urging administration to reach an agreement th at avoids a strike
- Ask your coworkers who are not postdocs to sign the solidarity pledge to respect our picket lines
- Pledge to contribute to our strike fund which will support postdocs financially burdened by striking and share with your networks
- Join a strike committee to help plan for a successful strike!
As always, please share any questions or concerns.
SPOC-UAW Bargaining Committee
Pooja Viswanathan, Neuroscience
Andrea Joseph, Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences
Pablo Knobel, Environmental Medicine and Public Health
Lukas Bethlehem, Genetics and Genomic Sciences