University Recognition of BPLO as a Union
On Tuesday, the University officially acknowledged the Brown University Postdoc Labor Organization BPLO unionization as a union after completing their card check agreement.
BPLO’s Unionization Journey
BPLO expressed their intention to form a union on December 8, initiating the process by submitting a representation petition to the National Labor Relations Board on December 28 to demonstrate sufficient support.
Voluntary Recognition by the University
Federal mediators confirmed that the list of signatories aligned with the University’s criteria for the postdoctoral bargaining unit. Due to the University’s voluntary recognition, there was no need for an election through the National Labor Relations Board.
University Response and Comments
Despite the official acknowledgment, the University spokesperson did not immediately respond to requests for comments on the development.
Path to Collective Bargaining
Before the card check’s conclusion, University spokesperson Brian Clark outlined that if a majority of the proposed postdoctoral bargaining unit supported the union, the University would acknowledge it and initiate negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement.
Composition of the Recognized Bargaining Unit
The recognized bargaining unit now encompasses postdoctoral research associates, postdoctoral fellows, and Dean’s Faculty Fellows paid directly by Brown. However, hospital-affiliated postdocs not employed by the University are currently excluded from the recognized unit.
Negotiations and Contract Formation
With official recognition, BPLO representatives and University administrators can now begin negotiations for a contract. Postdoctoral Research Fellow and BPLO organizer Sarah Neville expressed gratitude for the quick recognition, underscoring the unity and determination of the postdoc community.
Goals for the Future
Caroline Keroack, a postdoctoral research associate and BPLO unionization organizer, shared aspirations before the card check’s completion, emphasizing the goal of establishing a contract this year and expressing excitement about advocating for postdocs and assisting others in forming unions.
Expanding Inclusion in the Union
Looking ahead, BPLO unionization is directing its efforts toward including hospital-based postdoctoral fellows affiliated with the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior in the union. Sarah Neville highlighted that this group of postdocs is currently unrecognized by the University as part of the bargaining unit.