Today at Berkeley Lab

United Auto Workers Organizing Scientific Research Staff at the Lab

The United Auto Workers union is seeking to organize UC graduate student research assistants, scientific engineering associates, project scientists and engineers, career/career-track research and staff scientists and engineers, and senior scientists. UC respects the right to organize. Go here for information on your rights, the unionization process, and what being unionized means.

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  1. As a graduate student researcher, I know that the students in our UAW Local 2865 have negotiated much better working conditions for GSIs/TAs down on campus, including dental benefits, smaller class sizes, and a 17% wage increase over 4 years.

    I would love to work together with other GSRs/GSRAs/RAs at the Lab to improve our working conditions and salary. I hope that those who say they support their graduate students’ welfare will in fact support us in this work!

  2. N.ANDRESEN says:

    I’ll start with the following about Unions (more to come):

    “Union members” file class-action suit against United Auto Workers, Fiat Chrysler

  3. As a postdoc, I got a 400$ salary increase after the union contract. Union fights to increase postdoc salaries but didn’t stop individual to negotiate increase by themselves based on experience or merit.
    “Nothing shall preclude the University from providing compensation to Postdoctoral Scholars at rates above those required in this Article.”

  4. The postdoc union helped negotiate excellent and affordable health care benefits which I just used during my recent knee surgery. The postdoc benefits here, where the union is able to negotiate on our behalf, are much better than in places without union representation.

  5. Many academic researchers (ARs) have made public statements on their website why they feel the strong need to form a union. Everyone who’s interested in the reasons might want to read (some of) those statements in the “About us” section. Apart from enforceable working conditions and basic protections, many ARs make the point that a strong voice that calls for a better, not a worse, funding situation is critically important in general and especially in these days when science funding is constantly under attack. And a united academic researchers union gives them such a voice, as we have seen with the postdoc union.

  6. Perhaps this is already being done, but it would behoove Lab management to ask itself, “What is the Lab doing, or not doing, such that certain groups of workers might feel that being unionized is desirable? Are there other factors besides money?”

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