UW News

June 7, 2023

UW statement regarding ongoing contract negotiations with postdocs, research scientists — June 7, 2023

UW News

We are very disappointed at the postdoctoral researchers and research scientists’ decisions to strike after some significant progress was made in both negotiations recently. The UW has continued to bargain in good faith and has offers on the table in both negotiations that are fair and represent significant wage increases. Our postdocs and research scientists are valued members of our university community and important contributors to our research mission. We all agree that fair and competitive compensation creates a more inclusive and sustainable scientific workforce and is needed to continue to attract talented postdocs and research scientist.

Negotiations with the research scientists are very close, yet they left the table Tuesday for eight hours only to return with an unchanged proposal and walk away. Postdocs, meanwhile, most recently proposed an 8% increase on top of the average 13% increase they received in January — and a contract length of only eight months.

The UW has made offers that it is proud to stand behind.

For the research scientists, the UW is offering wage increases over the next three years of 4%, 3% and 3% in addition to significant new increases in minimums, which total nearly 30% worth of increases over the life of the agreement. The UW has also offered an additional 3.25% increase for research scientists who did not receive merit due to bargaining “status quo” requirements last year.

For the postdocs, the UW is offering an average 15% total wage increase this year (including the 13% provided in January when new minimums were introduced, and a new 2% increase across the board) — and an additional 2% in the second year of the agreement. The new minimum salary of $65,508 for postdocs at the UW is $5,000 higher than the current postdoc minimum in California, which was implemented after the recent UAW strike there.

Both postdocs and research scientists can also be paid more by their units or supervisors if their grants allow for it.

In addition to wages, one major sticking point with postdocs is around recording their work hours. Postdocs advocated to be overtime eligible, the state has confirmed they are, and the university is required to follow the law. Thousands of employees on campus track their work hours for overtime eligibility to ensure they are compensated fairly.

The end of Spring Quarter marks a time where we would like to be coming together as a community to celebrate the incredible academic achievements of our students – not divided over contract negotiations. The University remains committed to bargaining in good faith and reaching contract agreements, including leaving its most recent proposals open for negotiation until announced strike action this morning. We encourage the union to return to the bargaining table and bargain with us in good faith.