On January 18th, at 6:30 pm we will have a special meeting – in person and zoom – to discuss and vote on the topic of amalgamating (merging) our local with the postdocs at Mt. Sinai.
Our colleagues at Mt Sinai have reached an agreement on their first contract, meaning they are now ready to formalize their union, and they have voted that they want to join us to form an amalgamated local. As was announced and discussed at our previous membership meeting, we now have the option of creating an amalgamated union – meaning a single union which includes workers from multiple different employers. Our meeting on the 18th will be to discuss this topic, and then take a vote.
An overview of amalgamating:
Some quick notes on what it would look like if we form an amalgamated union:
- Columbia postdocs/ARSs will maintain our own organizing and bargaining committees, and will negotiate our own contract which will still cover only workers at Columbia.
- In forming the amalgamated union, we would update our bylaws to amend and decide on any new rules for how the union operates. In terms of daily operations, it will still be Columbia members who manage our daily operations (organizing, bargaining, grievances) and any decisions related to our members and employer.
- The amalgamated union would have a single Executive Board, who oversee the overall union, in terms of topics such as finances, staffing, etc. In addition to the Executive Board, the amalgamated union would form a joint council, which is made up of elected members, proportionally representing each component group. In terms of numbers, note that our contract covers approximately 1600 workers, whereas Sinai’s has approximately 500.
- Being a larger union with more members, and dues, the amalgamated unit would have greater resources for managing its operations and pursuing our goals.
The Columbia Postdoctoral Workers, UAW local 4100, is the first postdoc union at a private university in the US. In being the first, we had to create and define the path for being an organized union at our kind of employer and learn how to create a new local. Following our lead, Mt. Sinai is now the second private university with a union contract for postdocs. We have been working with and supporting the Mt. Sinai postdoctoral workers in their union campaign, and will continue to do so. At this exciting junction in academic organizing, we now face the question of how to coordinate and organize sectoral power moving forward.
Questions, Comments, Concerns?
We welcome and encourage questions about this process and what it would mean to amalgamate, or what it would mean to choose not to. For logistical questions on this process, Brandon Mancilla, our regional director, and Reisy Veloz, our servicing representative (who were at our last membership meeting) are supporting us through this process. We have also reached out to members of other unions who are amalgamated to answer questions and give insight into their experiences in amalgamated unions. Please submit any questions HERE. We will collect all questions, solicit and organize answers, and make all of this available to all members prior to the January 18th meeting.
In practice, whether to amalgamate will be decided by a vote of the membership from both our union and postdocs at Mt. Sinai. If a majority of voting members vote YES to becoming an amalgamated, we will proceed with amalgamating. If the result is no we continue as a single-employer union, and Mt. Sinai will form their own separate and independent local.
Wrap Up & Forthcoming Follow Ups
We hope everyone gets a chance to engage in this topic and vote on this important issue for the future of our union. As members of the executive board, and organizers, we have been discussing the topic of amalgamating and what it would mean for our local, as well as discussing this with our colleagues at Mt. Sinai. We will follow up with more information as well as our thoughts on this process soon!
Executive & Organizing Committees