Service & Solidarity Spotlight: National Institutes of Health Fellows File to Join UAW

NIH fellows rally to join the UAW

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service & Solidarity Spotlight series, we'll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

Nearly 5,000 early-career researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) filed to form a union, NIH Fellows United, an affiliate of the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW). This is the first union within the U.S. federal government for research fellows.

NIH fellows’ work is integral to the development of technologies and treatments to enhance public health. The fellows cited ongoing issues around low pay, a lack of support for early-career researchers and the need for a voice at work as reasons for joining the UAW.

“Fellows don’t have any voice or power in this institution, so it feels like we’re cheap labor rather than equal members of a team,” said Travis Kinder, a research fellow at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). “The changes we need at the NIH and in the world cannot be done alone and require us to work collectively.”