With a union, all union decisions – including the decision about whether or not to strike – will be made democratically by postdoctoral researchers. With a union, postdocs and associate research scientists will collectively decide what to ask for in bargaining and whether or not a strike is necessary.
A strike is a very powerful tool for unionized workers, but a strike would only occur if union members decide a strike is necessary. The decision to strike is made collectively; under the UAW, two-thirds of those participating in a strike authorization vote must vote yes in order to authorize a strike. While a strike is most effective if we all participate, it is an individual decision whether or not to participate. Striking is a last resort as a tactic and is rare. Ninety-eight percent of union contracts are reached without a strike.
While strikes are rare, it is not uncommon that workers decide it is necessary to prepare for a possible strike in order to convince a university to reach a reasonable agreement during negotiations. At the University of California, for example, the postdoc union UAW Local 5810, reached an agreement with the administration after a majority of postdocs voted to authorize a strike. At New York University, the graduate employee union GSOC-UAW Local 2110 reached an agreement with NYU after a majority of graduate employees authorized the bargaining committee to call a strike if they deemed necessary.