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July 12, 2008

5000 Postdoctoral Researchers from University of California campuses Join UAW!!

Hmmm...!!!, this is one of the news I was anticipating to take place long, long time ago. This is a slow progress, but considering the complexities and slavery that exists in the academic circles, the PRO/UAW's effort to get the postdocs sign the cards to join Union is a great success.

It is not an exaggeration to say here that there was a huge noise in the minds of academics and postdocs when they heard PostDoc Union for the first time from the Uconn Health Center Postdocs. Because, there was no such thing as postdoc or researchers union few years ago, though the university faculties in many places are in union. Postdocs talking about union was considered like a taboo or something unimaginable or some kind of a academic insult, how ignorant these academics, postdocs and union bashers in the universities??.

Well, just after we (Uconn PostDocs) unionized the postdocs
successefully at our UCONN Health Center via the 3837 local union branch of AFT-CIO, the University Health Professionals (UHP) (AFL-CIO is affiliated to American Federation of Teachers). We sat down for negotiating a contract, it was not a smooth ride or spoon feeding blessings, it was a long standing fight against the administration and the academics to gain some respect, equity and position in making policies and rules to the university administration. First we had to go the state labour board to get a recogniztion as employees (what a tragedy that our working system is so dilapidated and skewed that PostDocs are not employees, those in the administration, Professors and ignorant people will trumphet this lines : Oh Postdocs are not employees, Oh Postdocs are temporary, Oh postdocs are trainees...all those fuc....! craps), we had to win over all these intricately woven ignorance, then after the board gave us upper hand and recognized us as employees, we had to organize an election, there were steps to derail our efforts and hard work, there were intimidation and direct threats, but we did not give up, we fought with all the courage and putting our only jobs in risks, we won the election, then within 6 months we struck a great deal of contract which brought smiles, happiness and dignity in the labs, though the faculties (some of them?) and administration felt the blow on their face, they started realizing this is real and truth and they have no other choice to co-operate and accept reality......what happened after this is a great working atmosphere, no more intimidation or threat, no more disrespect and the university is doing good, probably better now with this heightened PostDoc consciousness, a respect that was brewed over years at the Uconn is in fruition..........all the postdocs benefit from our efforts.

We knew right away this historic event is going to cause some tremors in the academic circles, but there were lot of people who do not believe in change or positive reconstruction of academic/university policies did not give a second look at this great historic event of UCoNN, but wait and see.

The Dhamma work is very powerful, it might move slowly but it is powerful enough crack the most strongholds of our academia, the University of California Postdocs effort to join PRO/UAW is the first largest crack the Postdoc unionization is making, it will sure extend beyond what one can think or conceive in their minds about the role and values of postdocs, if you mistreat them or mistreated them for decades, it is time to look back and do what is needed to be done for postdocs, or else perish in your thoughts, a unionization drive will kick your ass.........!!!.
Ever since the Uconn PostDocs got unionized, there was a commotion among the faculties, university administrations, govt agencies and postdocs as well as the unions as to whether or not the postdoc unionization effort will die down with the Uconn alone or will it transcend to other university campuses and institutions. The answer is what is happening in at the PRO/UAW!........

5,000 University of California Researchers Join UAW

by James Parks, Jul 11, 2008

Some 5,000 postdoctoral researchers at the University of California (UC) took a huge step toward joining a union after a majority signed cards authorizing the Postdoctoral Researchers Organize/UAW (PRO/UAW) to represent them in collective bargaining.

“We’re excited that postdocs have formed their own union so they can have a stronger voice in their workplace,” UAW Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Bunn says in a statement.

These workers make significant contributions to biomedical and other scientific advances, and deserve the same voice that other workers have.

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Here is the PostDoc Wheel of PRO/UAW, this is like the Wheel of Dhamma of Lord Buddha's that is a symbol of justice and liberation. The latest news from PRO/UAW is very promising to the 5000 or more postdocs in different campuses of University of California System.

The Union for Postdoctoral Researchers at the University of California
PRO/UAW is the Union for over 5,000 Postdoctoral Researchers at the University of California. By signing up a majority of Postdocs, we can exercise our legal rights to bargain with UC. Postdoc representatives we choose will survey us to determine priorities and will then negotiate a contract with UC. We can negotiate for improvements in wages, hours, benefits, and terms and conditions of employment. Postdocs will then have an opportunity to democractically approve the agreement that UC and our bargaining team reach, before it becomes a binding contract.