The PRO/UAW website lists several members of the Bargaining Team:
- Matthew O’Connor – UC Berkeley
- Laura Bartley – UC Davis
- Tobias Kaufmann – UC Irvine
- Xiaoqing Cao – UC Los Angeles
- Pesach Lubinsky – UC Riverside
- Dil Kapadia – UC San Francisco
- Kirril Afonin – UC Santa Barbara
If you are one of these postdocs and you are no longer active in the Bargaining Team, please contact us!
We have contacted them (except for Matthew O’Connor whose email address we could not find) in order to ask their opinion on the concerns detailed on this site.
Only three out of the six people we contacted replied.
Kirril Afonin and Tobias Kaufmann (both postdocs) explicitly stated that they are not active in the Bargaining Team anymore. They expressed surprise about possible quesionable activity of UAW reps during the authorization card collecting procedure and they stated they would support an investigation if there is serious indication that said questionable activity did take place.
Laura Bartley (also postdoc) informed us that she is active in the Team. When we asked her opinion on our concerns, she responded that since the union already exists, “let’s move on”. When asked about possible questionable activity she stated that to the best of her knowledge nothing of this sort has taken place. Also, she stated that Matthew O’Connor is not in fact a postdoc, contrary to what the PRO/UAW website is suggesting. First she stated that Kirril Afonin is active in the Bargaining Team but when she was confronted with the fact that Kirril personally informed us that he is not active in the Team, she quickly backtracked. She insisted that she was not aware of seriously concerned postdocs, however we know this to be not true, since we personally know two postdocs who have been complaining to her in 2008 about the exact same issues that were raised on this site.
The rest of the Bargaining Team did not respond to us at all.
What is not listed on the PRO/UAW website are the non-postdoc members of the Team, except for Matthew O’Connor who is suggested to be a postdoc by the site but who in fact is not one. These members are employees of UAW and it was confirmed to us by one of the postdoc members that they indeed take an active role in bargaining. Since they are not listed on the PRO/UAW website postdocs can not easily contact them although they are the most influential members of the Team.
The most disturbing aspect of the bargaining procedure is that the outcome of the bargaining will effect all postdocs, including union members and non-members. Yet, the union refuses to let postdocs have their say in the process and only listens to feedback, comments, remarks, suggestions concerning the issues under negotiations if the postdoc in question signs an authorization card. This has been confirmed to us by Laura Bartley. In other words if you do not sign an authorization card expressing exclusive support for the union, the union will not be interested in your opinion or in any feedback that you may provide although you will be required to pay agency dues, approximately 1% of your gross income, after the collective contract takes effect.