Postdocs, researchers on strike at University of Washington

After months of negotiations, 2,400 postdocs and staff researchers at the University of Washington (UW) in the United States went on strike this week, arguing that the university’s proposed contract terms do not amount to a fair wage, writes Katie Langin for Science.

The strike comes on the heels of a change in state law on 1 January, which mandated that overtime-exempt salaried employees at organisations with 51 or more employees be paid at least US$65,484 annually, which is more than what many UW postdocs made previously. UW President Ana Mari Cauce argued in a 31 March letter to the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries that the minimum salary thresholds, which will increase annually and are set to exceed US$80,000 by 2026, “are not financially feasible” and that postdocs should be exempt based on rules for medical residents and fellows.

But the agency did not agree, making it clear in a 16 May response that it views postdocs as professional workers who are covered under the law.
Full report on the Science site