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postdoc disparity

Tue Aug 12 14:56:22 EST 1997

Unionizing of the graduate students at my school has brought about 3 good things...

1) Subsidized health insurance (decent coverage, 90% employer-paid)
2) A fixed minimum stipend levels for all students with negotiated cost-of-living increases (annual), and the occasional raise
3) Legal protections from discrimination, harrassment, and gives us legal holidays & time accrued vacations (1/2 a day per month, but it's something to some people!)

Many people said that students were not around long enough to see the benefits of fighting these battles. Unionization is not the magic solution to all problems, believe me, but in our case it does ensure that we have a pseudo-living wage and some measure of employee benefits. Most people (including myself) don't think that students should be paid enough to be too comfortable (motivation to get out!), but having good insurance at rates you can afford while paying off undergraduate loans & the rent is a _real_ lifesaver! I'm not sure how the specifics of organization would work, but I'm sure that it wouldn't be impossible. 

Science isn't about money and earning enough to afford that summer palace in Milan but as my department administrator said once, it's very hard to get the good education you are here for when your rent is 2/3 of your monthly earnings and even rice & beans is breaking the budget...

My $0.01 (students can't afford 2! ;) )


Robyn Temple
graduate student in Microbiology & Immunology
SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn

_______________________ Reply Separator _______________________

Subject: Re: postdoc disparity
Author:  <c-galloway at TAIU.EDU (Cynthia M. Galloway)> at Internet
Date:    8/12/97 9:46 AM

When I postdoced 10 years ago, I was more interested in the lab and project
than the money.  We had the same concerns as those posted here and there was
talk of Unionizing but, since a post-doc was a temporary position, you were
out of it before any action such as that could take place.  A post-doc was
looked upon as an extension of ones education and if you made enough money
to support yourself that was all that was necessary.  I understand that more
and more people are having to take multiple postdocs but, if your in Science
for the money, you picked the wrong profession.  Many NIH postdocs make more
than I do as an Associate professor at a small school but, it's the choice I

Dr. Cynthia M. Galloway
Assoc. Professor of Biology
Dept. of Biology
Campus Box 158
Texas A&M University
Kingsville, TX 78363


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