Respect Equality

UC researchers, postdoctoral scholars reach tentative deal, still on strike

Academic workers have reached a possible agreement 15 into striking
FILE – People take part in a protest outside of University of California San Francisco medical offices in San Francisco, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022. On Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022, postdoctoral scholars and academic researchers reached a tentative labor agreement with the University of California but will remain on strike in solidarity with thousands of graduate student workers who remain on picket lines at all 10 UC campuses. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

Story at a glance

  • University of California officials and academic workers have reached a tentative agreement 15 days into a system-wide strike.

  • About 48,000 academic workers across the University of California system decided to strike over two weeks for better pay and benefits.  

  •  Now, UC officials have agreed to boost the salaries of postdoctoral scholars and academic researchers.  

University of California officials and the school system’s postdoctoral scholars and academic researchers have reached tentative agreement after more than two weeks of striking.  

Bargaining teams from the University of California and the United Auto Workers, the union representing the school system’s academic workers, have potentially reached a deal on a new five-year contract for postdoctoral scholars and researchers.  

Postdocs and academic researchers will remain on strike until the contract is ratified and in solidarity with the roughly 36,000 academic student employees and student researchers who are still striking.

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Once officially ratified, the new contracts will be effective until Sept. 30, 2027.  

“We are proud to have reached agreements that address the soaring cost of living, and reflect the value of our contributions at UC,” said Neal Sweeney, President of UAW Local 5810. “These agreements represent a new, best-in-class model that will improve quality of life – and the quality of research – for scientists across the US. It is now time for UC to make serious proposals to Academic Student Employees and Student Researchers and to reach fair agreements that recognize the contributions these workers make.” 

About 48,000 University of California teaching assistants, graduate researchers and other workers walked off the job 15 days ago calling for higher wages and better benefits.  

Some of the worker demands included university officials raising the minimum salary for graduate workers to $54,000 a year and setting an annual base salary of $70,000 a year for postdocs, as costs go up for everything from housing to utilities and food.

“Our dedicated colleagues are vital to UC’s research activities and we are very pleased to have reached agreements that honor their many important contributions,” said Letitia Silas, executive director of UC systemwide labor relations. “These agreements also uphold our tradition of supporting these employees with compensation and benefits packages that are among the best in the country.” 

As a part of Tuesday’s tentative agreement, most postdocs will receive up to $12,000 more in their annual salary by October of next year.  

UC officials have agreed to expand paid parental and family leave for postdocs from four to eight weeks, as well as provide at least $2,500 a year in child care subsidies.  

Postdocs will also get longer appointments, more transportation subsidies, better protections from workplace bullying and guaranteed leave time for immigration appointments and protections if immigration laws change. 

Academic researchers will also get eight weeks of paid parental and family leave starting in January under the contract, as well as a 29 percent salary increase over five years.  

Researchers also get longer job appointments, better transportation subsidies and more accommodations for those with disabilities.