Friday, February 28

Union members protest after researcher’s postdoctoral appointment ends

About 40 protestors protested on campus Thursday regarding the university's actions concerning a postdoctoral appointment. (Tanmay Shankar/Daily Bruin)

About 40 union members marched through campus Thursday to protest the university’s actions regarding a postdoctoral appointment.

United Auto-Workers Local 5810, a union which represents academic and postdoctoral researchers, protested alleged retaliation against one of its members by the university.

Sandra Koch, a postdoctoral researcher, was told her appointment would end June 30, which protestors claim is in retaliation to a Title IX grievance Koch filed two years ago.

Koch filed a grievance with the Title IX office two years ago over concerns of pregnancy discrimination, after her then-supervisor fired her shortly after she informed him that she was pregnant, according to a petition to continue Koch’s appointment authored by Anke Schennink, president of UAW 5810.

Koch later signed a settlement agreement and transferred to a new lab with new funding, however, she was recently informed her postdoctoral research would come to an end on June 30, Schennink said.

“Sandra and we all thought that that was a closed chapter and all done … but now UCLA basically told her her post research would come to an end this June 30, which made no sense at all to anyone,” Schennink said.

Koch said UCLA’s termination of her research came despite having her own funding and support from her current supervisor.

Members of UAW Local 2865, a union which represents teachers, readers and tutors, marched in solidarity with UAW 5810.

Allison Carlisle, a doctoral student and the southern vice president of UAW 2865, said their union was protesting in support of UAW 5810 to help hold UCLA accountable in the future.

“We are here to hold UCLA accountable for respecting the rights of workers, of working mothers, of women in stem, of any worker,” Carlisle said. “Workers in our unit also face discrimination and retaliation. We know that what UCLA does to one person they’ll do to many other people and so we all have to show up together to make sure that everybody’s rights are respected.”

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