April 20th, 10am @ Studebaker Building, 4th Floor.

  • Members of the two bargaining teams (Postdoc Union, Administration) introduced themselves. Negotiations started.  
  • We asked for hybrid meetings for the negotiation sessions. The university pushed against hybrid bargaining

We, the union, want hybrid bargaining because:

  1. CPW 2020 bargaining was over Zoom, and was efficient.
  2. Other Union negotiations are currently doing it this way – Eg. University of Michigan
  3. There should be no secrets during bargaining – we are representing members
  4. Accessibility of  members – we all work from different locations.
  5. It will make bargaining more efficient – our members can just listen in and then we can all decide faster about your proposals.
  6. Columbia has the materials to allow the logistics.
  7. We come in good faith for bargaining > we want transparency.

Officially, CU Admin don’t want hybrid bargaining because they believe that in person discussions are the only effective way to exchange ideas. They also do not want people to reproduce any distorted material, or pieces of conversation, outside the room.

We repeatedly offer that only people physically in the room will be allowed to talk and that the hybrid option will be for observers. They just repeated their arguments about in person bargaining being more efficient.

Columbia’s Administration Proposals:

  • We presented our comprehensive proposal, amending 15 articles on our contract to better working and research conditions for all. This proposal is based on the feedback we received from all post-docs through 1600+ bargaining surveys. 

  • The administration presented their own opening proposals for our contract with changes on only 4 articles TAKING RIGHTS AWAY that were won on our previous contract.
    • Vacations [they propose no pay for unused vacation at the end of employment!!!]
    • Grievance and arbitration [they want to slow down the resolution process when a worker is facing a pressing issue and introduce an Arbitrator of their choosing!!!]
    • Union dues [they want to weaken and shrink our union, making it voluntary for workers to contribute, while we still have to represent every worker!!!]
    • Union access and rights [nothing major here].
    • They said they will present a proposal in compensation “at a later date”.

  • They asked questions about some of our proposals: Intellectual Property, Professional Development, Discharge/Discipline, and Power-based Harassment. 

  • We asked why the university is not providing data for our unit, which is their obligation. The university has botched our last Request For Information, regarding Diversity, Housing, and International status of our unit. 

  • We discussed a tentative agenda for future meetings

  • Next scheduled bargaining session on May 9 at 10am, however, we requested more dates given that we have only 2 months until contract expiration.

Throughout the day we paused the bargaining process to discuss strategy with all postdocs and ARSs in the room, without the administration bargaining team. This is called caucusing. It only works if people join the bargaining sessionsthat’s why hybrid bargaining is so important.


Read the minutes from the other sessions!

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