We pay some degree of special attention to the doings of the University of California system because it is so huge when it comes to US NIH-funded biomedical research. Policies that exist at the UC campuses affect a large percentage of our target audience and for that matter, many of our colleagues and friends. There is also an assumption on my part that the very size of the UC means that it has an influential effect on policies across the US and maybe even worldwide.
The UAW and the University of California today jointly announced that UC postdoctoral scholars voted to ratify their first union contract. The union announced that postdocs approved the contract by an overwhelming vote of 2588 to 121, or 96 percent in favor, in balloting that concluded Aug. 11. The postdocs’ union, Postdoctoral Researchers Organize/UAW, and UC reached a tentative agreement on July 31.
No word on whether hilarious Congressional threats to investigate UC uses of federal money had any effect on the process.
An overview of the agreement can be found in this pdf.
One main outcome of this initial agreement is to put the UC postdocs on the NIH NRSA salary scale as a default minimum ($37,740 / yr for new postdocs with less than a year's experience at present). It seems to be phased in for existing postdocs and in immediate effect for any new hires.
There are also some points about benefits but since I'm not particularly familiar with existing UC postdoc benefit policies I'm not going to comment on that.
I'm viewing this settlement/agreement as a good first step. I'm on record as saying I favor the NIH / NRSA scale as a minimum for all postdoctoral fellows so this more or less ratifies my position.