Strike Authorization Vote and Strike FAQ

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What is a strike authorization vote?

This is a vote that authorizes our bargaining committee to call a strike if circumstances justify. A ⅔ majority of those voting is required for this to occur.  It is a standard process within the union to ensure that this step is taken with full participation and approval from the bargaining unit before we consider calling a strike.

How does a strike authorization vote work (is it anonymous?)

A strike authorization vote is used to authorize the bargaining committee to call a strike in the unfortunate circumstance that Sinai refuses to bargain fairly. This vote requires a ⅔ approval rate from union members in order to pass. The vote is conducted via digital secret ballot distributed to all Postdoctoral Fellows who have signed an authorization card or filled out a union bargaining survey. SPOC-UAW organizers will be able to see whether you have voted, but not how you have voted. Sinai will not have access to information about who has voted.

Where can I find my ballot?

You should receive a ballot on Thursday, August 10 at 10am or shortly after signing an authorization card or filling out a bargaining survey during the vote period. Search your inbox for the words “Strike Authorization Vote” OR reach out to us for the link by emailing

When did we announce a strike authorization vote?

On August 3, our bargaining committee and organizing committee announced a strike authorization vote, following a mass meeting at which more than one hundred postdocs voiced their strong support for this move. If a ⅔ majority votes yes, we will give our bargaining committee the power to call a strike if they consider it necessary to reach a fair agreement.

Striking is a last resort. A work stoppage would be disruptive, but striking is also the strongest tool we have to secure fair contracts, and we are preparing now so that if it is absolutely necessary, we are ready. We hope that Sinai will stop stalling our negotiations and make greater progress towards a fair agreement, but until we see such progress, we will continue to make preparations to strike should it be needed. We hope that this strike preparation work will never have to be used.

What has led up to considering a strike authorization vote and a potential strike?

Our union was certified on July 5, 2022, but more than a year later we are still fighting to reach a first contract that provides fair and equitable support for postdocs at Sinai. Throughout negotiations we have made many efforts to demonstrate the urgency of reaching a fair agreement in a timely manner, including:

Despite these and other efforts, as of early August the administration has agreed to meet with us just 23 times over the course of ten months, for the equivalent of roughly half of a work day each month. Sinai has also consistently rejected our requests to meet more often or for longer periods, stating that their schedules are too complicated and busy.

While we have made progress in a number of important areas since we started bargaining on October 4, 2022, Sinai has so far failed to reach a fair agreement in a timely manner, and continues to resist agreeing to stronger protections in areas like unfair termination or discrimination, harassment, and bullying, while showing no commitment to approaching our economic proposals with any greater urgency.

Where and when would a strike take place?

Once we have voted to authorize a strike, that is a determination we will make together. 

What could a strike look like/how long would it last?

A strike is a complete work stoppage. During a strike, Postdocs would not perform our work duties and instead would participate in picket lines to increase the visibility of the strike. We will make the decision about ending a potential strike based on the status of negotiations.

What makes a strike effective?

Postdocs make up the largest group of researchers working in labs at Sinai. When Postdocs withhold our labor, Sinai will be forced to make much greater efforts to reach a fair agreement or cease to function as a top tier research institution. The more of us who participate, the more collective power we will have.

When we demonstrate publicly that we are withholding our labor through picket lines and pressure from community and political allies, it will also increase pressure on Sinai respond to our demands.

Is it legal for us to go on strike?


As with all other union action, our solidarity and willingness to be public is our best protection: there is strength in numbers. We’ll work to support each other and work with our elected leadership and other representatives to navigate legal or other challenges as they arise.

Will I get in trouble for striking?

Retaliation for organizing and striking is illegal. Additionally, as with all other union action, our solidarity and willingness to be public is our best protection. In other words: they’d have to take on all of us in order to take on one of us.

Am I allowed to strike if I am an international postdoc?

International postdocs have the same rights under labor law to participate in union activities, including striking, as domestic workers do. Thousands of international postdocs at the University of California and the University of Washington recently took strike votes and ultimately went on strike to win strong contracts.

Will I be paid while I am on strike?

Sinai has the right to not pay us while we are on strike and not working. In the event of a strike, Postdocs who complete strike duties will be eligible for $500 per week of strike pay from the UAW strike fund. We also have the option to establish a hardship fund and fundraise to provide further assistance to workers who experience emergency financial hardship due to lost pay.

Can Sinai withhold my healthcare benefits if I’m on strike?

If Sinai decides to withhold health benefits during a strike, postdocs would have our medical benefits paid through the UAW Strike and Defense Fund. 

Will Sinai care if we go on strike?

Yes. Postdocs perform critical work every day and a strike would be highly visible showing the solidarity of hundreds of postdocs and other community members who pledge to honor our picket line. A strike will attract media attention and political support for our right to fair working conditions. Members of other unions can support us in a variety of ways. The combination of stopping research, media coverage, and political pressure generated by a strike would absolutely impact Sinai.

Isn’t going on strike only hurting ourselves because our research would suffer?

While participating in a strike will require all of us to make sacrifices, this action also gives Postdocs the collective power to ensure that Sinai reaches a fair agreement with us. A contract that provides vital improvements to our pay, benefits, and workplace rights would also make Sinai more equitable, inclusive, and competitive with other major research institutions, and this will in turn improve research at Sinai. 

What should I do with my live test subjects if we choose to strike?

It’s ultimately Sinai’s responsibility to make sure that any basic lab maintenance happens during a strike. There are also ways that you can prepare for a potential strike. These plans could include advance-planning your experiments or informing supervisors that they may need to make alternative plans to take care of these subjects.

If we strike, will advance notice be provided?