At the close of nominations on Wednesday October 9th, at 5:00pm, three (3) people have accepted their nominations for the CPW-UAW bargaining committee.
In accordance with the notice of nominations, since the number of candidates: three (3), exceeds the number of positions: two (2), an election will be conducted with the two (2) candidates who receive the highest number of votes being elected. All eligible Union supporters [any Columbia Postdoctoral Research Scientist, Postdoctoral Research Scholar, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Associate Research Scientist, or Associate Research Scholar who is currently employed by the university] who have filled out a CPW-UAW authorization card or a bargaining survey are eligible to vote. Members of the bargaining unit who have not done so may fill out an authorization card at the polls prior to voting.
You can read all of the candidate statements below:
I am a fourth-year Associate Research Scientist in the department of Medicine and I have been working at Columbia University for 8 years. Having observed so many problematic situations, I am very sensitive to the power imbalance between a yearly appointed, and on soft money, career starting postdoctoral worker and highly regarded tenured Columbia Professors. Sometimes, this power imbalance is abused and the Columbia University administration has no intent on dealing with it fairly. This is why I am determined to help the postdoc and research scientist union bargain for a contract that offers better protections, a fairer grievance process in cases of sexual harassment and bullying, and better compensation for our hard work. A collectively bargained contract is the only way we can guarantee better protections for ALL postdocs and research scientists. The next few months will be critical and it would be my honor to bring my experience, here at Columbia, and my determination to the bargaining table.
After three initial years at Columbia going back and forth between the positions of postdoctoral research scientist and fellow, I am currently an associate research scientist at the Columbia Water Center, a most stimulating environment to conduct trans-disciplinary research on water challenges. While I am very grateful for the opportunity to investigate crucial social and environmental questions alongside my most inspiring and understanding director, over the years it became apparent that many avoidable issues repeatedly arise, such as delays in payments, difficulties with visa procedures, poor access to housing. While these difficulties are, for most of my peers, endurable (though undoubtedly at the expense of our research productivity and overall well-being), it is also evident that their impact can vary greatly depending on one’s circumstances and may become discriminatory. With my gradual involvement with the organizing committee came the realization of how widespread these issues are, and, sadly, how bad it can get. Horrified by the accounts, I took part in the collection of signatures for our petition regarding sexual harassment and bullying that we delivered to the office of the president. I wish to do more, in particular for those who can’t. I am running for the bargaining committee to defend the proposals that have been presented to Columbia and constitute key progress towards fairer working conditions. I will help relay to the school’s administration the voices of coworkers that have encountered struggles. I firmly believe that we will make Columbia a more inclusive institution.
I’m a second-year postdoc working at Columbia University Medical Center in the Department of Psychiatry. I have both a law degree from UPenn and a PhD from Columbia in neuroscience. I believe research can be an extremely rewarding endeavor if the conditions are right. Harassment, economic deprivation, and precarious work-life balance arrangements can sour your relationship to Columbia, the academy, and your field. As a member of the bargaining committee, I would focus on continuing to understand the specific needs of all union members, with an emphasis on preventing and eliminating harassment and creating financial and structural support for parents. To attain these objectives, I plan to encourage postdoc attendance at bargaining sessions, with a goal of having at least five new postdocs at each bargaining session. These bargaining sessions can be a transformative experience as postdoctoral union members get a glimpse at the real inner workings of the University. Additionally, I will put my hard-earned law degree to good use by ensuring that the claims of Columbia’s highly-paid lawyers are thoroughly challenged. I believe that my previous experiences with working in law and advocacy, as well as my familiarity with Columbia University and its employees and systems will help me be an effective change-agent for all postdoctoral union members.