Our UAOSU bargaining team met with the Administration’s bargaining team on Thursday, February 13, 3-5pm. In our abbreviated session, UAOSU offered counter proposals on Union Rights and Management Rights. The Administration brought a Benefits counterproposal intended to address Postdoctoral Scholar and Postdoctoral Fellow health insurance.
Initially, the Administration’s proposal seemed promising. The proposal struck our proposed language that would have Postdoctoral Scholars pay 5% of premiums for their families’ health insurance because it was a ‘nominal cost.’ The proposal also sought to lock-in a 90% employer contribution for Postdoctoral Fellows and their families. Unfortunately, in the course of the conversation, it became apparent that the Administration did not intend to improve health care for Postdoctoral Scholars and Fellows; they just have no idea what those benefits currently are. After we explained that Postdoctoral Scholars receive no contribution for their families’ health insurance premiums and Postdoctoral Fellows receive no contribution for either their own or their families’ insurance, the Administration clarified that they had intended to lock-in current practice. They simply didn’t know what that practice was and had incorrectly included the Graduate Fellow (not Postdoctoral Fellow) health insurance details in their proposal. Further, they did not understand, despite previous member testimony, that Postdoctoral Scholars do not receive any premium subsidy for their families.
Since the Administration has committed on paper to 90% premium contributions for Postdoctoral Fellows (albeit by mistake) and have clearly articulated their understanding that UAOSU is seeking to rectify the lack of family coverage for Postdoctoral Scholars, we are hopeful they will bring back a clarified proposal that speaks to these interests. The Administration clearly believes that providing these benefits is possible, since they believed until Thursday that they did provide them. We look forward to aligning actual benefits with those the Administration believes exist thereby making health care affordable for Postdoctoral Scholars, Postdoctoral Fellows, and their families.