Graduate Student and Postdoc Unionization
In the fall of 2022, the United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) launched an organizing campaign seeking to represent graduate students and postdoctoral scholars on Caltech's campus. As an institution that believes strongly in the value of free and open discourse, all members are encouraged to become fully informed about the process of unionization and what having a union could mean for the graduate student and postdoctoral experiences at Caltech.
The Caltech administration believes that unionization is not in the best interest of our graduate students, our postdocs, or our broader research and learning community. The Caltech culture allows for and encourages direct representation and robust dialogue among members of the community. Unionization would insert a third party in this dialogue and could obviate possibilities for individual expression. It also has the potential to change the lifelong connections established between faculty and graduate students and postdocs in their direct, shared research experience.
Caltech is committed to the personal and professional development of our graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. Faculty work closely and collaboratively with graduate students and postdocs, sharing knowledge, expertise, and individual perspectives in teaching and research environments that transcend disciplinary boundaries and traditional academic barriers with the intent to prepare graduate students and postdocs for the future.
The Institute maintains regular and open dialogue with graduate students and postdocs. Faculty and other members of the administration have met for years with representatives from both communities through a variety of formal and informal processes to consider, evaluate, and identify ways in which to enhance the Caltech experience, consistently responding to concerns centrally and through the divisions. The Caltech administration believes that the processes and structures in place support a personal, flexible, dynamic, and innovative learning and research community that responds to and evolves to meet the needs of our diverse, international community of scientists, engineers, scholars, and innovators.
Caltech has been and remains committed to supporting substantively the experience of graduate students and postdocs, alongside other members of the community, in a manner that is consistent with our shared values and mission to advance education and research in a diverse and inclusive environment for the benefit of society. Unionization is an important topic for conversation and consideration. All members of the community should educate themselves fully on this matter and engage with the process to best represent their interests, perspectives, and community.
–Thomas F. Rosenbaum, Caltech President