Membership Meeting: Monday, 9/20 + Anti-Bullying campaign updates

Our September 2021 membership meeting will take place next Monday, 09/20/21 at 8:30pm

Click here to RSVP for the Membership Meeting.

The university-wide anti-bullying committee had its first meeting. We will discuss how the meeting went and next steps to show Columbia why this issue is important for us as well as student researchers. We will also have discussion about other ongoing campaigns, elections, and local union finances.

If you haven’t already, please take a moment to add your name to our Open Letter against power-based harassment.

Our Anti-Bullying Working Group is circulating a short, anonymous survey to gather feedback on researchers’ experience with power-based harassment and what kind of solutions we advocate for in this committee. Take a few minutes to complete the survey here.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or thoughts,

CPW-UAW Local 4100 Executive Board

P.S. – To stay up to date, make sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook!

5 Years of Union Rights, Support for International Workers, Fighting Back Against Bullying, and More

Part of the strength of our union is that we are part of something larger – a movement of academics who stand together to improve our quality of life. As individual postdocs at Columbia, we certainly have more power when we speak with one voice – and we are even stronger as we stand with the more than 100,000 academic workers who are UAW members at universities across the country. 

We’ve used this power to secure crucial childcare benefits, pay increases, protections against discrimination and harassment, and to encourage Columbia to become a more equitable university. This month we’re commemorating the legal battle that gave our Student Workers Colleagues the right to form their union, and asking you to share your perspective on what is most important for our Union to focus on as we move forward together. 

Read on for updates from our working group on bullying and power-based harassment, news on health and safety, and resources for international workers who are navigating travel back to NYC. We are here to help, so please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need support or just have a question.

We’re excited to keep working to strengthen our union and fight for more rights at Columbia!

Fighting Back Against Power-Based Harassment and Bullying

Sign our Open Letter for a strong policy against power-based harassment!

After 16 months of bargaining, we won many improvements in our first union contract last summer. Among these, the administration recognized that bullying is a major issue in many research groups at Columbia and agreed to form a committee with our union to make recommendations for a university-wide policy to address the issue of workplace bullying.

The committee is scheduled to have its first meeting tomorrow, September 10th! However, we know it will take pressure to ensure that these recommendations reflect our experience as researchers and that Columbia makes real progress on this issue – sign the Open Letter here.

To inform the work of our representatives on this committee, members of our Anti-Bullying Working Group also designed an anonymous survey to gather data about types of bullying behaviors at Columbia – please fill in the survey by clicking this link.

Reopening and Health and Safety at Work

Under Article 10 of our contract, researchers have the right not to work in conditions that pose an immediate danger, to relevant health and safety training and proper equipment, and to protections against retaliation for raising health and safety concerns.

As Columbia establishes normal operations we want you to share any questions or concerns you have about the reopening, the safety under COVID-19 and the new Delta variant, the shift from remote to in person work and any other questions or issues. 

Please, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Resources for International Researchers

International researchers make up the majority of our workforce, and often face specific challenges related to travel, visas and work authorization, unfair or discriminatory treatment, and more.

We have been informed by several postdocs and ARSs at Columbia, who have traveled for the first time in almost two years to visit their families outside of the United States, that they have experienced issues re-entering the country. This problem includes processing the National Interest Exception (NIE), which is needed to re-enter the U.S. under certain visas. If you have experienced any issues with re-entry, please fill out this short survey.

With our contract, Art. 12 Section 2  – which establishes protections against loss of employment due to immigration reasons outside of the Employee’s reasonable control – we are ensuring that none of our members face any discipline due to this issue. In addition, we have demanded that Columbia provide support and are working with other UAW Locals and our UAW CAP (Community Action Program) director to provide support to researchers, through contacting our elected political representatives to help expedite this process if necessary. 

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns.

Five Year Anniversary of the Landmark Columbia/NLRB Decision

On August 23, 2016 – five years ago – the landmark National Labor Relations Board decision initiated by Columbia student workers was handed down. The ruling changed existing labor law by giving research and teaching assistants at private universities the right to be  considered employees, which restored their right to organize and form unions. 

The case opened the door to a wave of organizing at private (and public) universities across the country, adding huge momentum to the academic workers’ movement, and laying the groundwork for our successful campaign to form a union for Postdocs and ARS. The UAW alone now represents more than 100,000 academic workers at Brown, Boston College, The New School, the University of Chicago, Harvard, the University of Washington, the University of California and more (The Progressive covered these wins extensively this month). Columbia was and is the heart of this movement, which has improved the quality of life for workers in higher education across the country.

Make our Union Even Stronger!

Want to help improve the Postdoc/ARS experience at Columbia? Send an email to columbiapostdocunion@gmail.com,  join a working group, or fill out this form and an organizer will reach out!.

And, if you haven’t already, please take a few minutes to let us know what you’re most excited to improve or protect at Columbia through your union: What are your priorities for Year 2?

In solidarity,

CPW-UAW Local 4100 Executive Board

P.S. – To stay up to date, make sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook!

Stewards and Executive Board Election Results

The deadline to accept steward and executive board nominations closed on Monday, August 30th at 11:59 PM EST. We can announce the following winners of their districts by acclamation (they ran unopposed):

Won by acclamation:

MS District 2: 

CUMC District 1

Andrzej Gladysiak

Meghan L. Bucher

CUMC District 4

CUMC District 5

Aditi Sharma Singh

Stefano Cataldi

CUMC District 6

Executive Board – Trustee

Diego Rivera Gelsinger

Sumaira Zamurrad

In Solidarity,

CPW-UAW Elections Committee

[reminder] Deadline to Accept Nomination as Steward and EBoard member: TONIGHT (Monday, 08/30), 11:59PM

This is a reminder that the deadline to accept nomination for a position as steward or Executive Board member is TONIGHT (Monday, 08/30) at 11:59PM EST.

If you are interested in running for steward in your district or for the open position in the Executive Board, please submit your acceptance to the CPW-UAW Elections Committee by emailing cpwuawelections@gmail.com by 11:59pm EST (before midnight). 

See details below and don’t hesitate to reach out to the Elections Committee at cpwuawelections@gmail.com if you have any questions.

—————————————–

August 16, 2021

Nominations are hereby declared open for the CPW-UAW Steward [10 positions] and a Trustee position in the Executive Board [1 position]:

Stewards (10 positions):

Executive Board (1 position):

  • Trustee

All eligible unit members who have signed a CPW-UAW membership card are automatically nominated for the Trustee position and the steward position in their district. 

Membership Eligibility Description (per the bylaws): 

Membership in this Local Union shall be extended to all employees who have at any time been under titles that come under the jurisdiction of this Local Union. Membership shall be defined as members in good standing as defined in the International Constitution. 

CPW-UAW has 27 steward positions, broken up into districts. For this election there are 10 open steward positions and one open executive board position. Each district is a campus, building/s, or lab where postdoctoral academic workers are working. For every 75 workers in a district, one steward will be elected. To learn more about the responsibilities of the stewards, visit the UAW constitution (Article 45) and our Local Bylaws (Article 10). 

Any eligible member in good standing who wishes to accept the nomination for one of the steward positions in their district must indicate their intention, in writing, including the position they wish to run for. You can only run for one district position. The acceptance of your nomination in writing must be submitted no later than August 30th at 11:59pm EST. Submit your acceptance to the CPW-UAW Elections committee by emailing cpwuawelections@gmail.com. If you have questions about which district you belong to, please reach out to the Elections committee at cpwuawelections@gmail.com

Steward District Map

Click here to view the District Map, which shows the breakdown of the number of stewards per Steward District. 

Trustee on the Executive Board

The Trustee position is elected for a term expiring in May 2023. Officers are allowed to vacate their positions before the end of their terms, in which case the Elections Committee would hold a vacancy election. Click here to read more about the responsibilities of the Executive Board Officer positions.

Candidate Statements (Optional)

Each candidate may write and submit a candidate statement of no more than 250 words. These statements will be posted on the CPW-UAW website if there are contested elections. Your mailing address, phone number, and personal email address must be included, but will not be counted toward the 250 words. 

It is the responsibility of the candidate to submit the candidate statement, if they choose to have one. All candidate statements must be received by the time nominations close on August 30th at 11:59pm EST.

Candidates Meeting 

Following the close of nominations, all candidates in contested districts will meet with the Elections Committee via Zoom. This meeting will determine the order of names on the ballot and the method of mass communications, and address other concerns any candidate may have. This meeting will take place following the close of nominations, but before ballots are sent to members. 

Election Dates, Times and Locations

In the event that the number of eligible candidates who accept nomination for the specified position do not exceed the number of vacant positions, such candidates will be deemed elected by acclamation and no election will be held. 

If there are contested positions, elections will take place online from September 14th to September 22nd. If you are a member of the union, you will receive a ballot in your email and text messages once voting begins. If you wish to participate, you will need to sign a membership card and join the union

Election Location: Online

Election Start Date: Monday, September 14th at 9:00am EST

Election End Date: Tuesday, September 22st at 12:00pm EST

A runoff election, if necessary, will be held at a future date. The details will be announced if necessary. 

In Solidarity, 

CPW-UAW Elections Committee

[reminder] Deadline to Accept Nomination for Steward and EBoard Election: Monday, 08/30 at 11:59pm EST.

This is a reminder that the deadline to accept nomination for a position as steward or Executive Board member is next Monday, 08/30 at 11:59PM EST

If you are accepting nomination for the vacant steward or Executive Board positions, please submit your acceptance to the CPW-UAW Elections Committee by emailing cpwuawelections@gmail.com by August 30 at 11:59pm EST (before midnight). 

See details below and don’t hesitate to reach out to the Elections Committee at cpwuawelections@gmail.com if you have any questions. 

—————————————–

August 16, 2021

Nominations are hereby declared open for the CPW-UAW Steward [10 positions] and a Trustee position in the Executive Board [1 position]:

Stewards (10 positions):

Executive Board (1 position):

  • Trustee

All eligible unit members who have signed a CPW-UAW membership card are automatically nominated for the Trustee position and the steward position in their district. 

Membership Eligibility Description (per the bylaws): 

Membership in this Local Union shall be extended to all employees who have at any time been under titles that come under the jurisdiction of this Local Union. Membership shall be defined as members in good standing as defined in the International Constitution. 

CPW-UAW has 27 steward positions, broken up into districts. For this election there are 10 open steward positions and one open executive board position. Each district is a campus, building/s, or lab where postdoctoral academic workers are working. For every 75 workers in a district, one steward will be elected. To learn more about the responsibilities of the stewards, visit the UAW constitution (Article 45) and our Local Bylaws (Article 10). 

Any eligible member in good standing who wishes to accept the nomination for one of the steward positions in their district must indicate their intention, in writing, including the position they wish to run for. You can only run for one district position. The acceptance of your nomination in writing must be submitted no later than August 30th at 11:59pm EST. Submit your acceptance to the CPW-UAW Elections committee by emailing cpwuawelections@gmail.com. If you have questions about which district you belong to, please reach out to the Elections committee at cpwuawelections@gmail.com

Steward District Map

Click here to view the District Map, which shows the breakdown of the number of stewards per Steward District. 

Trustee on the Executive Board

The Trustee position is elected for a term expiring in May 2023. Officers are allowed to vacate their positions before the end of their terms, in which case the Elections Committee would hold a vacancy election. Click here to read more about the responsibilities of the Executive Board Officer positions.

Candidate Statements (Optional)

Each candidate may write and submit a candidate statement of no more than 250 words. These statements will be posted on the CPW-UAW website if there are contested elections. Your mailing address, phone number, and personal email address must be included, but will not be counted toward the 250 words. 

It is the responsibility of the candidate to submit the candidate statement, if they choose to have one. All candidate statements must be received by the time nominations close on August 30th at 11:59pm EST.

Candidates Meeting 

Following the close of nominations, all candidates in contested districts will meet with the Elections Committee via Zoom. This meeting will determine the order of names on the ballot and the method of mass communications, and address other concerns any candidate may have. This meeting will take place following the close of nominations, but before ballots are sent to members. 

Election Dates, Times and Locations

In the event that the number of eligible candidates who accept nomination for the specified position do not exceed the number of vacant positions, such candidates will be deemed elected by acclamation and no election will be held. 

If there are contested positions, elections will take place online from September 14th to September 22nd. If you are a member of the union, you will receive a ballot in your email and text messages once voting begins. If you wish to participate, you will need to sign a membership card and join the union

Election Location: Online

Election Start Date: Monday, September 14th at 9:00am EST

Election End Date: Tuesday, September 22st at 12:00pm EST

A runoff election, if necessary, will be held at a future date. The details will be announced if necessary. 

In Solidarity, 

CPW-UAW Elections Committee

Notice of Nomination and Election of Union Stewards (10 Total) and Eboard (1 Total)

August 16, 2021

Nominations are hereby declared open for the CPW-UAW Steward [10 positions] and a Trustee position in the Executive Board [1 position]:

Stewards (10 positions):

Executive Board (1 position):

  • Trustee

All eligible unit members who have signed a CPW-UAW membership card are automatically nominated for the Trustee position and the steward position in their district. 

Membership Eligibility Description (per the bylaws): 

Membership in this Local Union shall be extended to all employees who have at any time been under titles that come under the jurisdiction of this Local Union. Membership shall be defined as members in good standing as defined in the International Constitution. 

CPW-UAW has 27 steward positions, broken up into districts. For this election there are 10 open steward positions and one open executive board position. Each district is a campus, building/s, or lab where postdoctoral academic workers are working. For every 75 workers in a district, one steward will be elected. To learn more about the responsibilities of the stewards, visit the UAW constitution (Article 45) and our Local Bylaws (Article 10). 

Any eligible member in good standing who wishes to accept the nomination for one of the steward positions in their district must indicate their intention, in writing, including the position they wish to run for. You can only run for one district position. The acceptance of your nomination in writing must be submitted no later than August 30th at 11:59pm EST. Submit your acceptance to the CPW-UAW Elections committee by emailing cpwuawelections@gmail.com. If you have questions about which district you belong to, please reach out to the Elections committee at cpwuawelections@gmail.com

Steward District Map

Click here to view the District Map, which shows the breakdown of the number of stewards per Steward District. 

Trustee on the Executive Board

The Trustee position is elected for a term expiring in May 2023. Officers are allowed to vacate their positions before the end of their terms, in which case the Elections Committee would hold a vacancy election. Click here to read more about the responsibilities of the Executive Board Officer positions.

Candidate Statements (Optional)

Each candidate may write and submit a candidate statement of no more than 250 words. These statements will be posted on the CPW-UAW website if there are contested elections. Your mailing address, phone number, and personal email address must be included, but will not be counted toward the 250 words. 

It is the responsibility of the candidate to submit the candidate statement, if they choose to have one. All candidate statements must be received by the time nominations close on August 30th at 11:59pm EST.

Candidates Meeting 

Following the close of nominations, all candidates in contested districts will meet with the Elections Committee via Zoom. This meeting will determine the order of names on the ballot and the method of mass communications, and address other concerns any candidate may have. This meeting will take place following the close of nominations, but before ballots are sent to members. 

Election Dates, Times and Locations

In the event that the number of eligible candidates who accept nomination for the specified position do not exceed the number of vacant positions, such candidates will be deemed elected by acclamation and no election will be held. 

If there are contested positions, elections will take place online from September 14th to September 22nd. If you are a member of the union, you will receive a ballot in your email and text messages once voting begins. If you wish to participate, you will need to sign a membership card and join the union

Election Location: Online

Election Start Date: Monday, September 14th at 9:00am EST

Election End Date: Tuesday, September 22st at 12:00pm EST

A runoff election, if necessary, will be held at a future date. The details will be announced if necessary. 

In Solidarity, 

CPW-UAW Elections Committee

Membership meeting: Monday, 8/16 + travel restrictions and Vaccination Mandate

Our August membership meeting will be next Monday 08/16/21 at 8:30pm

RSVP here to attend our Membership meeting

In addition to our monthly Finances and Executive Board reports we will hear an update from the Elections Committee about the upcoming vacancy election of stewards and officers in our Local, and discuss ongoing issues faced by our International colleagues with COVID-19 travel restrictions, the vaccination requirement of Columbia for all employees (see below), and an opportunity to work with other unionized workers in academia to improve higher education, by supporting the Higher Ed Labor Summit vision statement

Travel restrictions and NIE requirement 

Some of our colleagues continue to experience difficulty travelling outside of the country or coming back to the US due to travel restrictions imposed on J-1 and H1-B visa holders. We have called on the university to take a clear position on this issue and request action to fix the delays. We are also reaching out to our Congressional representatives directly through our union’s Community Action Program to help our members and to improve the application process. In the meantime, please reach out if you have any questions or issues, or to get involved around this issue. 

In addition, as we continue to work with other UAW Academic Locals to improve the situation of international researchers in the US, we want to share the Correspondence published recently in Nature regarding an open letter against this highly discriminatory travel ban: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02172-8 

COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement at Columbia

The University is requiring all University faculty, researchers, staff and students to be fully vaccinated by September 2, in order to access the campus, unless there is an approved medical or religious exemption. Failure to comply could result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. We will discuss this requirement at our membership meeting, so please attend if you have thoughts, or reach out at columbiapostdocunion@gmail.com with any issues or concerns. 

CPW-UAW Local 4100 Priorities Survey

We recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of our first contract. As we move into our second year as an established local union, it is important that we continually seek ways to improve our working conditions and our lives.

Please take a minute to fill out this short survey to help shape our collective priorities for campaigns and enforcing our contract moving forwards: https://bit.ly/CPW-Priorities-Survey 

In Solidarity,

CPW-UAW Local 4100 Executive Board

P.S. – To stay informed about our union, make sure to follow us on SlackTwitter and Facebook!

National Interest Exception (NIE) and issues re-entering the US- Reach out to your union!

We have been informed by several postdocs and ARSs at Columbia, who have traveled for the first time in almost two years to visit their families outside of the United States, that they are experiencing issues re-entering the country. This problem includes processing the National Interest Exception (NIE), which is needed to re-enter the U.S. under certain visas. If you have experienced any issues with re-entry, please fill out this short survey.

We are in contact with Columbia and are working with other UAW Locals and our UAW CAP (Community Action Program) director to provide support to researchers, through contacting our elected political representatives to help expedite this process if necessary. 

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns.

CPW-UAW Local 4100 Executive Board

P.S. – To stay informed about our union, make sure to follow us on SlackTwitter and Facebook!

Join us TODAY or Friday for Union Anniversary Tables on campus!

RSVP for a Contract Anniversary Table TODAY or Friday on campus!

To mark the anniversary of our first contract one year ago, we will be tabling today and Friday to talk with Postdocs and ARS about what we should fight for in our second year as a new Local Union.

  • Morningside Campus – TODAY (Wednesday, 7/21) at 4:30-6pm in front of Low Library
  • Medical Campus – Friday, 7/23 from 12pm-1:30pm in Haven Plaza

Swing by for some food, tea or coffee, share your priorities for our Union, and get an update on our campaign for protections against workplace bullying (and pick up a CPW-UAW T-shirt and/or a button!)

If you have a colleague who has not yet signed up as a member, this is a great opportunity to introduce them to our Union and help them get their questions answered. Let us know if you can make it so we can prepare enough food, drinks, and materials, and let you know of any changes: https://forms.gle/61b6LweTqknmGvUv8

Hope to see you there,

In solidarity,

CPW-UAW Local 4100 Executive Board

P.S. – To stay informed about our union, make sure to follow us on SlackTwitter and Facebook!

1 year anniversary of our contract! + Membership meeting tonight

Our Contract is 1 year old 🎉 

What are your priorities for Year 2?

As we mark the one year anniversary of our first contract (also the first-ever contract for Postdocs at a private university!), we wanted to take a few minutes to reflect on how far we have come through our collective efforts to build a strong union, with hundreds of new members across Columbia. Check out a side-by-side comparison of the rights we won in our contract.

As a reminder our July membership meeting is tonight at 8:30pm. Click here for more information and to RSVP.

To celebrate our anniversary we will be tabling with food and coffee on campus this week – come and talk with your union colleagues, get questions answered, offer feedback, and pick up a Union T-Shirt! 

  • Morningside Campus – Wednesday, July 21 from 4:30-6pm in front of Low Library
  • Medical Campus – Friday, July 23 from 12pm-1:30pm at Haven Plaza

Successfully Enforcing Our Rights

Through our union we have assisted over 100 researchers with workplace issues and grievances, both covered by our contract and not. If you ever have a question or concern at work, get in touch with your Union Steward, or fill out a workplace issue form

  • Pay Raises

Our contract increased minimum salaries for postdocs to the highest in New York City and guaranteed that everyone gets at least a 2.5% raise every fiscal year starting this July. Throughout the year we have been working with Postdocs/ARS and the administration to ensure that our new salaries are correctly implemented. We will continue to work to make sure everyone receives the raises guaranteed in our contract. 

  • Paid Time Off

Our contract codified 23 paid vacation days per fiscal year, with back pay for days not used at the end of an appointment. We have been working with unit members to ensure that these rights are enforced. A member shares how the new policy affected him over the past year:

Winning New Rights

  • University-wide protections against power-based harassment or bullying 

Thanks to our campaign for a fair contract, the university recognized – for the first time – that bullying and power-based harassment is a big problem in academia. Columbia agreed to establish a university-wide working group with our union to recommend a  new policy for these cases. We expect these discussions to start within the month! Our anti-bullying working group has developed a survey to gather data about types of bullying behaviors at Columbia. Check your inbox for a personalized link, with the subject “Survey on Power-Based Harassment

  • Making Columbia a More Family Friendly Place for Research

Our contract established guaranteed parental leave for any new parent (in addition to the medical leave of the birth mother) including for Postdoctoral Research Fellows – here’s how one member described utilizing this new right:

  • Parents Working Group and Emergency Childcare

During COVID-19 however, parents faced new challenges as schools closed. Researchers advocated relentlessly for increased childcare benefits, circulating a petition, making phone calls to the Provost, publishing an op-ed, and organizing delegations to university decision-makers. We won an additional crisis care benefit of $1,000 that  parents could use for out-of-pocket child care costs during the pandemic, but much more is needed. As we begin our second year, our Parents Working Group wants to start making links to other researchers in New York so we can advocate for better childcare for working parents across the city.

  • Inclusion, Equity and Affirmation of all Genders

We continue to seek ways to join the fight for greater diversity, equity, inclusion and visibility at Columbia. Certain gender-affirming surgeries that are crucial for transgender workers will not be covered under Columbia’s health care plans until January 2022. Delaying these kinds of surgeries has been shown to have a negative effect on mental health and it is important that workers can access this treatment as soon as possible. It is important that we make sure Columbia follows through on implementing these crucial changes to make the university more inclusive, and help any worker that wants assistance before January. If you would like to be part of these efforts, please reply to this email or join our working group on this topic

Political Engagement

We partnered with other UAW Academic Locals to ensure that the voice of researchers is heard loud and clear nationally. There are more than 100,000 academic workers across the country who are represented by UAW, and in the past year we raised our collective voice to:

Make our Union Even Stronger!

Want to help improve the Postdoc/ARS experience at Columbia? Send an email to columbiapostdocunion@gmail.com,  join a working group, or fill out this form and an organizer will reach out!.

And, if you haven’t already, please take a few minutes to let us know what you’re most excited to improve or protect at Columbia through your union: What are your priorities for Year 2?

In solidarity,

CPW-UAW Local 4100 Executive Board

P.S. – To stay informed about our union, make sure to follow us on SlackTwitter and Facebook!