Friendly reminder that there are two CGPU-UAW coffee hours this week. Come on by for some free coffee, hang out in an informal environment, and ask any questions you have about forming a union.

  • Coffee Hour 1: 1/9 at 3:00 pm in the Watson Courtyard

  • Coffee Hour 2: 1/10 at 10:00 am in the Schlinger Courtyard

There is also a zoom info session on January 19th at 12:00 pm, featuring postdocs from UC and Mt. Sinai that recently negotiated union contracts. RSVP here to receive the link.

And of course, remember that our union election is January 31st and February 1st at Ramo Auditorium—fill out this form to get involved!

One vs. Two Bargaining Units and Postdoc Fellows
CGPU-UAW and Caltech reached an agreement to have two bargaining units, one for Postdocs and one for Grad Students, provided both groups are voting on the same days at the same times. Two bargaining units means that postdocs and grads will have separate vote counts and will negotiate separate contracts, but critically, both will still be part of the same union (Caltech Grads and Postdocs United-UAW). Both elections are occurring simultaneously, and both groups will continue to closely coordinate with and support each other, as we have from the start.

A second issue that arose in discussions with Caltech was the inclusion of Postdoctoral Scholar Fellowship Trainees. Generally speaking, Postdoc Fellow Trainees are postdocs sponsored and supervised by Caltech but with outside funding. Caltech’s initial position was to exclude all Postdoctoral Scholar Fellowship Trainees from the bargaining unit. Ultimately Caltech agreed that all Postdocs will be allowed to vote, with 50 Postdoctoral Scholar Fellowship Trainees voting under challenge. Note that this only affects Postdoc fellows; all graduate fellows remain eligible to vote. If you have questions about this, or the difference between one and two units, please don’t hesitate to reply to this email.

Caltech Communication to Faculty
Caltech administration recently re-distributed talking points to faculty to dissuade grads and postdocs from voting “yes” to unionizing. Although Caltech correctly advises faculty that they may not, in any way, threaten or surveil Postdocs and Grads, it is nonetheless disappointing to see Caltech engaging in the same anti-union tactics as other universities like MIT, Columbia, and USC. If faculty you work with are scheduling times to talk about unionizing, please feel free to reach out at with any questions you have about your rights or just for some friendly advice.

You can read more about how Caltech’s anti-union tactics mirror those at other universities in this excellent piece in Caltech Letters. Lots more information is also available on our website, including for international researchers, what information Caltech leaves out on their website, and how unions have made improvements for grads and postdocs. And as always, feel welcome to reply to this email with any additional questions!

Towards a better Caltech,
Emma Lenz, G3, Aerospace