The Boston Globe is reporting that unionized postdocs at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass Amherst) have overwhelmingly approved a new contract with the university after 2 years of bargaining.
According to the Globe, the contract provides for a minimum postdoc salary of $38,500, 2% raises to current salaries, and guaranteed health insurance and other benefits for family members. Inside Higher Ed reports that the agreement also includes partial compensation for childcare expenses and holiday and sick leave equivalent to that of regular employees. Other sources also cite dental benefits and improved healthcare coverage for postdocs. UMass Amherst postdocs are represented by Postdoctoral Researchers Organize/UAW (PRO/UAW). According to a union press release, 95% of postdocs voted in favor of the contract. Also according to the union, before the contract nearly half of UMass Amherst postdocs did not have university-provided health insurance.
Reports also say the contract provides protections for foreign postdocs, such as guaranteeing that they won’t lose pay due to visa processing delays.