This past Tuesday, May 23rd, we had our seventh bargaining session for our Contract with Columbia University’s Administration!!💥💥💥

Quick recap: 🏃💨 🏃⏱️

>> read the detailed recap below

  • Columbia finally presented their economic offer, proposing to raise our minimum salary to $62,400 for Postdocs (from the current $60K), to $68,744 for ARSs (from the current $66,100) with 2.5% annual increases planned for 5 years.
  • The overwhelming majority of us will see NO financial benefit from this proposal!
  • This is an insulting offer – effectively, it’s a pay cut when considering inflation, it’s below the 3% annual raises given to other officers, and straight ignores all our demands.
  • We must strategize actions & responses at our membership meeting: RSVP here for Thursday @ 6:30 pm!

Join your fellow members at the upcoming membership meeting and let your voice be heard: 

We must  show a united front, rally behind our demands, and strategically escalate our actions  to demonstrate to Columbia’s Administration that we are not going to stop until we get a fair contract! Together, we can shape a stronger future for all of us. 

Attend in person or on Zoom, Thursday May 25, at 6:30 pm

We will be discussing the following:

  • Ways to put more pressure on Columbia’s Administration and secure the contract we rightly deserve before its expiration (June 30th!).
  • How to advance our Contract campaign to achieve the best contract we can get. 
  • Finance and Executive Board report to inform about how due money is utilized and to have members actively contribute to shaping our future directions.

RSVP for the membership meeting Thursday May 25 at 6:30 pm

Detailed recap: 🐢📖🤓🐢

Here’s a recap of the May 23rd bargaining session:

  • 10am, Gathering! 
  • 10:30am, Start of bargaining!  

As usual, the CU Admin team was late.

CU Admin presented their economic proposals for the first time.

30 days into the negotiations, finally CU Admin presented their opening compensation proposal. >>>> To read their offer follow the link

Here are the main points:

  • Compensation: They proposed new minimum salaries: $62,400 up from $60,000 for starting postdocs, and $68,744 up from $66,000 for starting ARSs. We have experienced some of the highest periods of inflation, this is effectively a pay cut!
  • Our minimum annual salary increases will remain at 2.5% for a proposed contract of 5 years.
  • The overwhelming majority of us will see NO financial benefit from this proposal! This is an insulting offer. It is below what similar Universities are offering right now. It doesn’t consider the expenses of housing, rising living costs, and the huge value our research work brings to this University.
  • Relocation Costs: They offered relocation reimbursement up to $1,250 for all new hires in 2024. The money would come from PI’s grant.
  • Healthcare and Hardship Fund: They offered a fund managed by the OPA of a total of $150,000 for over 5 years for all the Postdocs/ARSs that will be at Columbia during that time. There are over 1,600 Postdocs/ARSs at any given time, plus new postdocs come in every year. The money would not be enough to cover even a single medical cost of $50 for every worker.

CU Admin presented an updated non-economic proposal.

Columbia has rejected most of our non-economic demands and economic proposals, like equal treatment for Fellows, International workers, support for childcare, and housing. All have fallen on deaf ears. 

To read their updated non-economic proposals follow the link. Here are the key new points:

  • Unused vacation: There was a compromise from CU’s Admin! They propose that postdocs that have worked up to 3 years will receive up to 23 days of pay in lieu of unused vacations.Everyone else will remain under the current policy. 
  • Power based Harassment: No protections in the contract against bullying and power based harassment. CU Admin only  included a link to the recommendation we helped draft.
  • Holidays: They propose that President’s Day is removed as an official holiday and will be substituted by a personal day. They included Juneteenth as an official holiday.


During the session, we took one break to discuss how to respond to these proposals. Postdocs/ARSs joined in person and on zoom! 

  • Consensus is that the offer is insultingly offensive (we couldn’t agree if insulting or offensive was the best word to describe it). There was consensus that union members would not ratify this proposal.
  • At the heart of this negotiation lies the issue that CU Admin is refusing to use any central account money for childcare or housing or salary support. We know that there are funds available that could support our research and supplement the money that comes from PIs and grants!
  • We discussed our immediate response, and questions to ask to CU Admin.

What’s next? 

Our next bargaining session is Wednesday, May 31st, (we requested Morningside campus at 1pm)

RSVP to Join the Next Bargaining Sessions 

Follow our next emails with updates on future steps!

Read the full report from the 7th bargaining session!

Reach out to us to get involved!

Follow us on social media! (IG, Twitter, Slack)

Share this info with your friends and colleagues!


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