Twelve people attended the Postdoc Union Meeting on Thursday, October 27, 2016, including Co-Presidents Frank Kung and Itzamarie Chevere-Torres; Co-Vice President Slim Karkar; Executive Council Member Mariagemiliana (Gemi) Dessi and Postdoc Union Representatives Jack Yoon and Patrick Nowlan (AAUP-AFT).
The main topic was the implementation of the new minimum salary for all postdocs across Rutgers. As of December 1 ,2016, no postdoc should be paid less than $47,484. A group of postdocs volunteered to join the Postdoc Union at their next meeting with Rutgers Administration on November 9 to discuss the following points:
- The Union will ask for assurance that the new minimum salary will be implemented as expected.
- Postdocs are concerned about how this mandatory increase in salary could affect current and future contracts, as well as benefits.
- There is also the question of whether the University should cover the increase in salary now, which will allow PIs the chance to adjust their budgets to cover the salary increase over the next year.
- Although the federal law requires a new increase in the minimum salary, there is no guidance regarding salaries for postdocs with 2+ years of experience. The Postdoc Union will suggest an increase according to experience level.
- It is not clear if the new increase in salary will benefit only Postdoc Associates, who are considered Rutgers employees, or if it will also include Postdoc Fellows, who are considered trainees with no staff benefits.
It was proposed to invite staff from both the Human Resources Office and Office of Research Sponsored Program (ORSP) to clarify the two types of postdoctoral positions and ask who makes these classifications and how.