International Postdoc Rights

Many, many of our colleagues are international postdocs. Understandably, international postdocs often have concerns about how organizing a union could impact their visas or whether they are allowed to participate in our campaign. Here are some facts to keep in mind:

  • Union activity cannot be used as a basis to deny visas. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) cannot ask you questions about your union membership or participation in lawful union activity. In addition, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recognized the importance of enforcing labor laws and has signed an agreement with the Department of Labor (DOL) that states it is essential to ensure proper wages and working conditions for all covered workers regardless of immigration status. It is your right to belong to a union and being a union member cannot and should not affect your visa application.

  • Your support for the organizing campaign can remain confidential–we will not disclose the names of supporters to anyone outside the campaign. When it comes time to sign authorization cards, this process is also confidential. The cards are delivered directly to the State of Oregon Employment Relations Board (ERB), who will count the cards and tell OHSU administration if a sufficient number of postdocs signed cards, but not who signed.  Disclosure of these names to anyone outside of the ERB would be a violation of state and federal laws. 

  • Workplace organizing is a legally protected activity, regardless of immigration or citizenship status. The National Labor Relations Act protects this right, even for individuals who are in the US without a visa. It is not considered political activity under the act.

  • Retaliation is illegal. Under state and federal law, it would be illegal for OHSU or any other employer to retaliate against you for union activity.  In fact, it is illegal for your PI or any supervisor to even ask you if you support the union or have signed a card. AFSCME has lawyers on staff to protect people who may be subject to retaliation.

  • OHSU has a long history with a unionized workforce.  Local 328 has been part of the OHSU landscape for decades. OHSU administration is well aware of their responsibilities to uphold the law and has had a working relationship with AFSCME for many years.  While we disagree with OHSU admin on many issues, retaliation and union-busting are not major issues with this employer.