As Graduate Student Workers (GSWs) and Postdocs look forward to more bargaining at the end of the month after a well-attended June bargaining session, it’s important to remember that: we are the unionwe enforce our contract, and we keep us safe.

GSWs and Postdocs already won a strong grievance process with neutral, third-party arbitration to resolve workplace issues on a firm, fast timeline. However, the progress we’ve made can still be undercut by how Caltech administration negotiates non-discrimination, immigration, and union rights and protections. So far it has been unacceptable. 

We are the union, all of us, including all of our international GSWs and Postdocs who are among our most vulnerable but who can be protected well with a strong union contract. In an op-ed posted recently on the new CGPU medium pageone international Postdoc at Caltech described the frequent mistreatment he endured, which included his PI aggressively emailing and shouting about research and results. They would have scientific disagreements about methodology which would end in threats towards the postdoc’s visa: “If you don’t agree, go ahead and leave.”

We enforce our contract. Our Non-discrimination proposal defines what kinds of issues are subject to our new grievance process. Caltech administration’s counterproposal removed our prompt, enforceable protections against bullying, harassment, and discrimination–claiming Title IX is enough. Meanwhile, GSWs and Postdocs at University of California won ground-breaking contract language and utilized it when an international postdoc at UCSD was unjustly fired by her PI after raising concerns of data falsification. Her coworkers showed up to enforce her rights just in time to prevent a deportation back to China, 7-months pregnant, with no healthcare.

We keep us safe, when GSWs and Postdocs stand together and collectively demand that our needs are met and our rights are respected.

As academia is known for mistreatment, particularly against international scholars, we deserve stronger protections than Title IX, but Caltech administration does not agree. So, RSVP to join hundreds of fellow GSWs and Postdocs on Friday, July 19th at noon on Parsons-Gates lawn to make it clear: GSWs and Postdocs are committed to keeping each other safe.

See you there,
Jasmine Emtage, BBE

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