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May 03, 2010

UC PostDoc Union Contract Delayed?

Hearing Highlights Impasse Between Postdoc Union and UC  on May 3, 2010 2:28 PM 

BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA—A congressional panel on Friday got a taste of what the past 18 months have been like for postdoctoral researchers at the University of California (UC) trying to negotiate their first-ever labor agreement. A hearing here at Berkeley City College left lawmakers and postdocs feeling equally frustrated with UC administrators.
In November 2008 a group of postdocs affiliated with the United Auto Workers were certified as the official bargaining agent for postdocs at the system's 10 campuses. Although not the first such group—postdocs at the University of Connecticut Health Center formed a union in 2003 and negotiated a contract the following year—the UC union is by far the largest, with its pool of more than 6000 postdocs representing about 10% of all U.S. postdocs. Among other concessions, the union is seeking raises modeled on federal guidelines for each year of experience, plus an annual 4% increase across the pay scale. The university has offered a one-time, 1.5% across-the-board raise in 2010. Despite 56 all-day negotiating sessions, the union and the university have yet to agree on a contract.

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