Last week we continued to focus on initial negotiations around union rights for fellows, such as representation and grievance processes, which will lay a strong foundation for future wins. (Read more: FAQs)

Progress has been made on several of these initial topics, including coming to agreements on “Joint Union-Agency meetings” and “Midterm Bargaining.” These agreements will ensure that Fellows have a right to negotiate over new subjects as they come up, even if we have concluded the current bargaining process. We’ve also moved closer to an agreement  for timely access to important employment documents (like pay stubs) and information which will allow us to enforce our rights as unionized workers (like knowing who works here).

Additionally, we presented proposals related to Professional Development. Fellows value NIH and OITE resources, but access is inconsistent across institutes. Despite stating that they too value these resources, management initially refused to discuss our Professional Development proposals at the table. Because of what thousands of fellows have said, we believe in negotiating over professional development to ensure such opportunities are protected and accessible.

The slow pace and occasional resistance from administration makes clear that we need to demonstrate our unity around these issues to make progress at the table. While we on the Bargaining Committee are coming with thorough explanations of the importance of making improvements on a range of subjects, the only way to ensure that the NIH takes us seriously is to demonstrate that ALL Fellows are working together to make these improvements happen.

Last year, our public letter  demanding our right to organize a union pressured NIH management to reverse their decision to challenge  Fellows’ worker status, allowing us to vote and win our union. If hundreds of Fellows sign the bargaining platform letter, we can again demonstrate our commitment to securing protections and advancing issues important to Fellows.

Will you sign your name in support and ask your coworkers to do the same? 

Together, we will win improvements to our lives and to science at the NIH!

In solidarity,

Ian Fucci, CRTA Postdoc, NCI, Frederick 

Tara Fischer, Research Fellow, NINDS, Bethesda

Zohirul Islam, Visiting Fellow, NIAID, Bethesda

Rosa Lafer-Sousa, IRTA Postdoc, NIMH, Bethesda

Alexander Jordan Lara, Postbac, NIDCR, Bethesda

Marjorie Levinstein, IRTA Postdoc, NIDA, Baltimore

Amilcar Rodriguez, Predoc, NIEHS, Research Triangle Park North Carolina

Emilya Ventriglia, Predoc, NIMH, Bethesda

Michaela Yamine, Postbac, NHLBI, Bethesda