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Lab researchers at Cal stand together, unionize with UAW

lbl-postdocs-united(Sept. 16, 2016) – This week, California’s Public Employment Relations Board certified a petition filed by postdoctoral scholars working at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL) to join UAW Local 5810, the union representing postdocs at the University of California. This makes LBL is the first national lab in which postdoctoral scholars have successfully organized.

Like student workers and postdocs at universities around the country, LBL postdocs are responding to the changing conditions of the profession and demanding an equal voice at work. They demonstrated strong support for joining the union when approximately 80 percent of LBL’s 500 postdocs signed cards authorizing UAW to represent them in collective bargaining with the University of California.

UAW-4121Postdoctoral researchers often collaborate with lab workers at different institutions, including at the University of Washington and elsewhere. UAW Local 4121, the union for student workers at the UW, applauded the LBL postdocs for joining UAW.

“We are very excited that more researchers are organizing to address issues of compensation, gender equity, international workers’ rights, and appointment length, as many of us become postdoc scholars during our careers,” said Viral Shah, Research Assistant in Atmospheric Sciences and Executive Board member for UAW 4121. “Our career prospects and the future of science looks brighter when we organize for better and more inclusive working conditions and help set national standards.”

LBL postdocs will join the more than 6,000 postdocs at UC. The UAW represents more than 35,000 Graduate Student Employees and 7,000 Postdoctoral Researchers throughout the United States.

For more information about UAW Local 4121, visit their website.

einstein-union-yesWhen workers have a union, they have a voice on the job. Working together, they negotiate good wages and working conditions so they can provide a better life for their families. Union members have higher wages, greater job stability, retirement security, and access to quality healthcare for their families. It is no wonder that 57 million Americans who are not union members say they want to be part of one.

If you live in Washington state and want to learn more about forming a union, visit the Washington State Labor Council website, where you can sign up to have a union organizer contact you with more information. Union organizers assist employees in forming unions on the job to give them the same opportunity for dignity and respect, good wages and decent working conditions that union members already have.

Here’s a video, produced by the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, that explains what unions are and why they are so necessary today.


CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!