WCM Postdocs United (WCMPU)-UAW Initial Bargaining Goals

We, the Postdoctoral Associates and Fellows at Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM), present the following contract demands to: (1) improve our working conditions; (2) better support WCM’s mission to conduct world-class research, foster diversity, attract and retain talents; and (3) recognize the importance of its location in New York City. These demands are based on bargaining surveys completed by a supermajority of 478 Postdoctoral Associates, Fellows, and Visiting Fellows (hereinafter referred to as “Postdocs”). These demands reflect the specific needs of Postdocs and the vision of our research community.

These demands take into account the historic shifts towards a longer postdoctoral stage, the specific challenges of living in New York City, and the need for an academic pipeline supporting greater diversity among rising research faculty. We aim to ensure fair pay and benefits for all Postdocs; to support all Postdocs’ career development; to provide greater stability for non-citizen researchers; to expand paid leaves of absence for Postdocs who become parents; to ensure that Postdocs with families can afford childcare and associated costs; and to build a truly inclusive, accessible, and diverse research community free from bullying, harassment, and discrimination.

We believe that achieving these goals will facilitate the recruitment and retention of the most talented, diverse group of Postdocs and, therefore, enhance our ability to produce exceptional and state-of-the-art research conducted at WCM.

1. Establish fair wages

We strive for improved pay for all, commensurate with the value of our work and the high cost of living, including a significant increase to competitive pay minimums and guaranteed experience-based annual salary increases, along with transparent options for merit-based increases.

2. Increase access to housing

We strive for guaranteed, equitable, and affordable access to housing for all Postdocs for the duration of their appointment, increased control and transparency in the housing selection process, expanded eligibility criteria, increased quality conditions and amenities, and improved resources and support for those seeking accommodations outside of WCM housing.

3. Create a more family-friendly workplace

We strive for fully paid parental leave, priority access to and significant financial support for childcare on and off campus, afterschool and summer programs, tuition benefits, and affordable insurance coverage for dependents. 

4. Improve healthcare for all

We strive for improvements to the quality and affordability of medical, mental health, reproductive health, dental, and vision coverage, including dependent coverage, as well as access to an expansive network of healthcare providers.

5. Ensure freedom from harassment and bullying, and prevent retaliation

We aspire for a fair, prompt, and enforceable process for addressing workplace harassment and bullying, including but not limited to sexual and gender-based incidents. We aim to establish measures to prevent any form of retaliation against individuals who report such incidents or participate in the resolution process.

6. Foster a safe and productive work environment

We strive to establish a fair and transparent process for promptly addressing health and safety concerns within the workplace. Our goal is to enhance and improve accessibility to wellness resources and recreational facilities, ensuring a comprehensive approach to the well-being of postdocs and their families.

7. Ease the burden for new employees

We strive for an efficient and transparent hiring procedure, including offer letters that detail funding sources and length of available funding, responsibilities, salary, benefits, access to the resources necessary to perform the work, explanation of current and future visa options, relocation cost coverage, increased financial support for new hires, and access to the WCMPU-UAW contract agreement.

8. Enhance retention and advancement opportunities

We strive for transparency and consistency for all renewal, advancement, and dismissal proceedings, timely reimbursements, clear expectations associated with promotions, raises, and dismissals, improved minimum notice for non-renewals, and increased minimum appointment lengths.

9. Broaden access to and improve retirement and other benefits

We strive for the right to better plan for our futures through improved access to retirement and other benefits, including life insurance, disability insurance, tax withholding for all researchers, and access to free financial and tax advice.

10. Increase support for international researchers  

We strive for improved visa options, appointment lengths, access to information on visa options, support for visa and Green Card processing, immigration, and stronger protections for international researchers.

11. Improve rights to paid vacation and leave

We strive for enhanced and guaranteed access to paid holidays, vacations, as well as medical, family, bereavement, and other leaves of absence.

12. Expand access to educational resources and professional development

We strive for access to funds supporting individual and professional development opportunities, including courses offered at WCM tuition assistance, expansion of support from the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs and the Postdoctoral Association for career development, and expedited reimbursement for work-related expenses. We also aim to expand access to teaching and mentoring opportunities for Postdocs.

13. Improve transit and parking benefits

We strive for improved and equitable shuttle services, as well as parking and public transport benefits, in order to relieve the burden of commuting costs and provide support for Postdocs with bicycles, cars, and other forms of transportation.

14. Recognize and promote union rights and representation

We strive to maximize the ability of our union to engage in effective representation, including a variety of standard provisions on union representational rights and contract enforceability. Additionally, we aim to ensure that all new postdoctoral employees receive adequate orientation about rights and benefits under our contract.

15. Protect academic freedom and intellectual property, and ensure fair compensation

We strive to improve intellectual property and academic freedom rights, including clear guidelines on authorship criteria and protection against listing without consent. We aim to establish mechanisms that ensure fair compensation for all intellectual creations, including those that are licensed, patented, or sold, to appropriately recognize the contributions of Postdocs.