The University of Washington’s postdoctoral researchers will be represented by a union.
The University of Washington’s postdoctoral researchers have voted in favor of forming a union.
The election results, announced Friday, mean that about 1,100 researchers who are doing postdoctoral work — that is, they have already earned a Ph.D. or medical degree and are now doing research for the university — will be represented by UAW Local 4121.
That union also represents the 4,500 Academic Student Employees, or graduate students who work as teachers, researchers and tutors. Those students are deadlocked with the university on a new contract, and plan to hold a one-day strike Tuesday.
More than 700 postdocs voted in the election, according to UW Postdocs United, and the vote was 89 percent in favor for those whose votes were unchallenged by the university.
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The university had argued that about 40 percent of the 1,100 positions shouldn’t be part of the bargaining unit because they included jobs that were defined as faculty positions, and governed by the faculty code. The UW believed that faculty members should organize as faculty, and not be included in a separate bargaining unit.
In March, hundreds of postdocs took over parts of Gerberding Hall to protest the UW’s stance. Shortly afterward, the university announced it wouldn’t stand in the way of a vote to determine whether the postdocs can form a union, although it said at the time that it thought about 130 positions shouldn’t be included in the union, and was planning to challenge those votes.
Next, the postdocs will elect a bargaining committee and draft and ratify initial bargaining demands in preparation for negotiations with the university.