Board of Trustees unanimously approves CBA for UAW postdocs

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On Monday, the University of Connecticut Board of Trustees unanimously voted to approve the university’s tentative Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Postdoctoral Research Associates Union, International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW), and the agreement will go into effect now, staying in effect until June 30th, 2024. 

After the vote, UConn President Thomas Katsouleas summed up the meeting and the proceedings with a positive concluding note. 


The Board of Trustees meeting held in North Reading Room in the Wilbur Cross Building was attended by several passionate students protesting the lack of Mental Health services on campus. The Board of Trustees unanimously voted to approve a tentative Collective Bargaining Agreement.  Photo by Wesley Nyambi

The Board of Trustees meeting held in North Reading Room in the Wilbur Cross Building was attended by several passionate students protesting the lack of Mental Health services on campus. The Board of Trustees unanimously voted to approve a tentative Collective Bargaining Agreement. Photo by Wesley Nyambi

“This is a great agreement not only for the postdocs but also for their faculty supervisors and for the university as a whole,” Katsouleas said. 

Karen Buffkin, Executive Director of Employee Relations, was the Chief Spokesperson for UConn and outlined what the CBA aimed to accomplish for the school. 

“The Tentative Agreement provides several new benefits to Postdocs and preserves the status quo in many other areas,” Buffkin said.  

According to the board of trustees’ memorandum, negotiations with UAW, who represent approximately 160 postdoctoral research associates, began in the fall of 2018 and the tentative agreement was finished on Dec. 17, 2019, before being approved by the Union in February. The aim of the agreement is to “permit research at the university to thrive and grow while being fiscally competitive to grant funding organizations.” 

Postdoctoral researchers are paid associates of the university that continue to conduct research in their field of study after the acquisition of a doctorate. The agreement concerns the terms of their contracts with UConn, both economic (time off, compensation, layoffs, etc.) and non-economic. (union rights, non-discrimination/harassment, health, etc.). The memo states that postdocs are temporarily appointed for a fixed amount of time, usually for one year, and the appointment cannot exceed five years. 

Now that the board of trustees has approved the agreement, it will go to the general assembly, according to an email from UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz. 


 Sam Zelin is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at sam.zelin@uconn.edu.

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