My name is Steven Cook, and I am a second-year Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Biological Sciences. I have been involved with union organizing and the organizing committee for the Columbia Postdoctoral Workers (CPW-UAW) for almost my entire time at Columbia. Having grown up in a union household, and previously a member of SEIU 1199, I have a long-standing interest in unionization and workers’ rights. I strongly believe that by showing collective power through CPW-UAW at Columbia, we can help to improve the working conditions for all postdocs and Associate Research Scientists/Scholars (ARSes) at Columbia.
I have spoken to hundreds of postdocs and ARSes across Columbia’s campuses, I have worked to understand the issues that need to be addressed to create a transparent contract that benefits all CPW-UAW members. There is a clear need to improve the economic (Wages, healthcare, appointment length, visa support, etc.) and non-economic (Sexual harassment, discrimination, career development, etc.) benefits offered by Columbia.
We are not alone in our fight to improve workers’ rights, both here at Columbia, and nationally. I will work my hardest to represent the interests of all CPW-UAW members, and to directly empower our postdoc/ARS workforce.