Postdoc union activists have prepared a short survey in order to get an updated snapshot of what current postdocs see as important for support services available at a dedicated Postdoc Office on campus. Postdocs have been sent a link to a survey via the "Survey Monkey" online survey platform. This survey is an important follow-up after a productive meeting with RU administration last week about creating a postdoc office at Rutgers.
We are also at the same time visiting postdocs who are working on campus to talk about their issues and concerns. Any postdoc who is not yet a member of the union will also be invited to join the union. Postdoc activists want to build their strength in numbers and people-power, even though they all know how little time postdocs have for self-advocacy. Yet, together with the union--including faculty union activists in other ranks and the staff, postdocs can contribute their ideas, while staying focused on their research.
Postdoctoral associates and some postdoctoral fellows have a union-negotiated contract that covers their terms and conditions of employment. These postdocs (whether they are US citizens or not, whether their work location is on at Rutgers campus or they are embedded at another university, research lab, field site, or industry placement far away from Rutgers) are professional employees at Rutgers University--they hold a type of faculty status. They are in transition to full professional status after earning their PhDs. The aim is to faciliate their success and a greater recognition of their status as professionals who are no longer students. With the union, a basic professional employment framework has been created via member-driven union negotiations. The faculty Principal Investigators who hire postdocs can depend on this solid foundation for their postdocs, too.
Postdoc activists are reaching out to their colleagues so that all may realize that they can have something to say about their employment terms and conditions. They will encourage their colleagues to switch from the nonmember representation fee they are already paying (as required by New Jersey state labor law) to full membership.
Postdocs are making a difference through the union, no matter how short each person's appointment might be at Rutgers. Even more can be achieved in a shorter amount of time when full members take a little bit of time to speak up. The first step in speaking up is simply signing the membership form and returning it to our office. Please visit our website to see more information and download a membership form.
Let Cathy Stanford know if you receive the Postdoc Office Survey via email. Your participation in this brief, 2-question survey will help us advocate for postdoc support services. You may reach Cathy by calling 732-964-1000, ext 10 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org