I’m Jessica, a postdoc in BBE and one of your elected bargaining team members. I’m excited to give our first bargaining update from this week’s back to back sessions on 5/29 and 5/30!

We proposed 16 articles, including Prohibitions against Discrimination, Harassment, and Abuse; Support for Immigration and International Scholars; and Health and Safety. Caltech administration also proposed an additional four articles: Grievance and Arbitration; Management and Academic Rights; Professional Development and Training; and Workspace and Materials. All proposals can be found on our website.

Progress So Far
As the bargaining teams reach a Tentative Agreement (TA) on each article, no further changes are made until graduate student workers (GSWs) and postdocs (PDs) vote on the full TA’d contract at the end of the bargaining process. We have reached TAs on five articles already and one verbal agreement! 

  1. Grievance and Arbitration: The verbal agreement. Firm, fast timelines for resolution of grievances, with clearly-defined escalatory steps for any violation of the ratified contract, including the final step of third-party neutral arbitration.
  2. Workspace and Materials: GSWs and PDs are provided reasonable access to the resources necessary to carry out their work.
  3. Professional Development and Training: All training necessary to carry out work-duties, like any research or teaching, must be provided to GSWs and PDs free of charge.
  4. Union Management Committee: The establishment of committees (one for GSWs and one for PDs) to discuss the administration of the union contract.
  5. Severability: If anything in the contract is found to be against existing law, that part of the contract is nullified and the rest stands.
  6. Complete agreement: If either party wants to change anything in our contract after it has been democratically ratified, bargaining must resume. 

The willingness of both parties to quickly reach consensus is a reason for immense optimism, and all of us on the bargaining team are looking forward to continued productive negotiations.

What next?
As bargaining continues, there are many ways to stay in the loop. Please check out our new bargaining portal where you can find links to each of the proposals and tentative agreements made by our union’s and the admin’s bargaining teams. All GSWs and PDs are welcome to RSVP to a bargaining sessionOur next bargaining date is June 10th from 9:00AM-1:00PM.

We’re still in discussion about future bargaining locations; our PD and GSW teams want to find the most accessible location to allow any PD or GSW to enter and return to their labs throughout the day. We’re hopeful that in the future, Caltech admin will help meet PDs’ and GSWs’ desire for accessible, on-campus bargaining.

As always, if you’d like to get more plugged into this process, please fill out this form, reach out to any organizer, or respond to this email.

In solidarity,
Jessica Griffiths
Postdoc, BBE