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Science Careers Blog

May 12, 2010

House Committee Chair Miller Urges Speedy Resolution of Postdoc Contract in Letter to University of California President

In a sharply worded letter faxed yesterday to University of California President Mark Yudof, Chairman George Miller (D-CA) of the House Committee on Education and Labor expressed his "deep concern regarding the failure" to resolve the outstanding issues in the seemingly endless negotiations for a first contract between UC and PRO/UAW, the postdoc union covering the huge system's ten campuses.  

The "thoroughly disappointed" Miller described the dismay he felt during the hearing on the negotiations that his committee held in Berkeley on April 30.  At the hearing Dwaine Duckett, UC's Vice President for Human Resources, asserted that the university cannot negotiate across-the-board raises because of fears that the small number of postdocs paid directly by outside funders rather than through grants to the university might "end up posing a significant burden on state general funds," Miller wrote.  Yet, he added, Duckett gave "no evidence that even a single dollar of state general funds has been used for Paid Direct salaries."    Resolution of the issue "remains elusive because of UC's still 'incomplete' record gathering," Miller continued.

Ensuring that "a resolution of these negotiations is not subject to unnecessary delay" is "your responsibility," Miller told Yudof.  Miller also praised the frank testimony of UC postdoc Ludmila Tyler, which "was instrumental in helping the Committee understand the work of postdocs," and reminded Yudof of UC's "long history of providing testimony to Congressional hearings" and the "prohibitions against any form of retaliation as a result of testimony before Congress."

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