This week, over a hundred GSWs and Postdocs came all the way to the edge of old town Pasadena to demonstrate support for the Wages and Healthcare proposals put forth by our bargaining teams. By organizing in our labs, six Tentative Agreements (TAs) have been reached, including:

  • a Grievance and Arbitration agreement that is not regressive,
  • a first of its kind Freedom of Speech protection,
  • and a strong, enforceable right to a healthy and safe workplace, on and off campus.

This is how GSWs and Postdocs exercise power.

The mass turnout at these most recent bargaining sessions is a reminder of the real source of power in these negotiations: all of us. What happens at the bargaining table is less important than what happens away from it, in discussions with our coworkers, in staying informed through our bargaining portal, and in participating in mass actions. The power we build now sustains us past our first contract into future negotiations.

More work to be done:
We await responses from the administration on our wageshealthcare, and other economic proposals

We are also bargaining for strong, enforceable protections against discrimination, harassment, and abuse, which are missing from the Institute’s current counter proposal. This includes the right to effectively enforce these protections through our newly TA’ed Grievance and Arbitration article — which the Institute wants to delay until the Title IX process is complete. 

Bargaining will resume in July for back to back full day sessions on the 24th-26th and 29-31st. RSVP to attend here.

Your next move
Lab meetings are integral to how we collaborate and push our research to new limits. Similarly, how we prioritize and win our first contract is entirely based on our ability to collaborate and discuss what GSWs and Postdocs in every lab care about. Sign up your lab for a Lab Meeting to discuss your contract priorities together! 

Progress This Week
Grievance and Arbitration — We have a tentative agreement (for real this time)!

Last week we sent out an email explaining how Caltech went back on the first TA of Grievance and Arbitration. We are happy to announce that our bargaining team held firm and Caltech administration has been pressured to keep their word. They agreed to a Grievance and Arbitration article that is not materially different from the original tentative agreement: firm, fast timelines for grievance resolution and a final step of neutral, third-party arbitration with unlimited peer representation throughout the process. 

Freedom of Speech Protections — A first-of-its-kind provision

In a historic first, violations of California labor law related to unit members’ freedom of speech are subject to our grievance process outlined above—we won’t need to wait for the state-level bureaucracy to address such violations (a process that can take up to two years). This article also enshrines the union’s right to convene and demonstrate on campus, which Caltech’s recently-updated Free Speech and Expression policy had denied. 

Health and Safety — No one can be forced to work in unsafe, unhealthy conditions

With so many of us working in laboratory and field settings, workplace health and safety is of extreme importance. Our tentative agreement with administration guarantees first and foremost the right to refuse unsafe working conditions. More proactively, the tentative agreements include the creation of a health and safety committee that will ensure that policy violations are addressed. For those of us who leave campus for fieldwork, the TA requires reasonable notice of any hazards at the field site. The California Workers’ Compensation Law will also apply to members of the Bargaining Unit!

Travel — Guaranteed reimbursement for authorized travel

Union Access — Enshrines all rights afforded to unions under the federal National Labor Relations Act

In solidarity,
Sophie Hourihane, G4, PMA

Any questions, comments, and concerns can be sent to You can track bargaining progress and read copies of all tentative agreements on our bargaining portal.