UC Academic Researchers are seeking to form a union to improve the AR experience at UC and increase the political voice of researchers locally and nationally.

As Academic Researchers, we play a crucial role in making the University of California one of the world’s premiere research institutions. Together, UC researchers drive the latest innovations and discoveries in areas such as biotechnology, computer science, agriculture, and green energy. We are responsible for writing grants, mentoring students and peers, and conducting independent experiments. Our work produces job creation, advances in business and technology, and improved quality of life. Annually, the UC system contributes $46.3 billion to the California economy alone.

At the same time, ARs have no say in how our careers are administered by the University, facing bureaucratic hurdles that restrict our applications for funding, mentoring of students, and obtaining health and other benefiits. Unlike faculty members, ARs must prepare grant proposals and perform university service on our own unpaid time. Whereas faculty members have the Academic Senate, ARs have no analogous voice or organizing body at the campus or University level to interact professionally and express our interests. Decisions about our advancement and promotion are made in an opaque way. And with every re-appointment letter we are reminded that the University offers us no security of employment.

UC Academic Researchers have chosen to form a union in order to increase collective strength and negotiate transparent employment policies as equals with UC administration. Beyond UC, we aim to increase the political voice of all researchers in advocating for increased research funding, fair visa and immigration policies in the US, and truly inclusive and equitable academic institutions.

UCSF Visa & Immigration Workshop

On January 24, Academic Researchers United and the Postdoc Union co-hosted a presentation in which Stacey Gartland, an immigration attorney with Van Der Hout, Brigagliano & Nightingale, LLP, provided crucial information on navigating different visa processes, the permanent residency application process, and other travel and immigration-related concerns for ARs and Postdocs.

Disclaimer: the video and presentation provide general information only, not legal advice. It is recommended that you seek legal advice before taking any actions.

Forum on Improving Research Careers

What are the issues facing researchers, and how can we work together to fix them? On May 31, Academic Researchers United and the Postdoc Union presented “Organizing the Future of Research”, an event about improving research careers featuring Gary McDowell, the Executive Director of Future of Research. Gary presented results from the Next Generation Researchers Initiative, a Congressionally-mandated committee that has examined how to create viable and sustainable career paths for scientists. Postdocs and Academic Researchers from UC Berkeley and LBL also spoke about how researchers are taking collective action to make improvements. The presentation slides are accessible by clicking here.