The CPW-UAW bargaining committee continues working toward a fair agreement–see our latest bargaining update is below.
We want to start by acknowledging all the Postdoc/Associate Researchers and many others across Columbia who continue to devote themselves to aiding our community through the COVID-19 crisis in numerous ways. Thank you. We also remind everyone to fill out our COVID-19 survey so we can continue to monitor and potentially help address related workplace challenges. As we all consider how to respond in this extraordinary time, and as the University increases redeployment plans, we encourage everyone to share thoughts and questions. If you have immediate concerns, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bargaining update from April 1 and 3
We met twice last week with the Columbia administration bargaining team. Though we continued to make progress overall, the increasing magnitude of the COVID-19 crisis certainly adds new considerations for our negotiations and timeline. It is now clear, for example, that we will continue negotiating past April 6, so we have started scheduling more sessions deeper into April.
While both sides are committed to continued negotiations, the administration team has increasingly started pointing to the crisis as a basis for taking a hard line on some recently discussed issues. They’re also hinting at future uncertainty regarding some of the economic issues involved in bargaining. We certainly share a strong desire to finish negotiations in a timely manner, but it will still take significant movement by Columbia on some of the core disputes.
After last week, we are very close to finalizing our International Researchers article. We are also close to agreement on Appointments and have finalized language covering Vacation, both of which are contingent on resolving our Paid Leaves article as part of an ongoing package proposal. We also moved somewhat closer to agreement on Union Rights, though the University continues to propose that our union be treated differently than other unions on campus when it comes to access to resources to enable effective representation.
Overall, the administration’s approach continues to present some major obstacles to an overall agreement. For example:
- Though we finally had a somewhat meaningful discussion on Professional Development last week, the University has so far made no counter proposal on that topic, even though we made our original proposal more than six months ago.
- The University has made no new counter proposals on Non-Discrimination in nearly four months, failing to address numerous core components of that article that would enhance researchers’ rights under our contract
- The University continues to propose grievance and arbitration procedures that would hinder our ability to enforce our rights efficiently and elevate the university’s over-reliance on outside lawyers
- At times, the University reverts to a dismissive approach to our proposals. For example, in response to our continued concerns about potential abusive use of short appointment offers, the University responded, “What are you going to do, turn down the job because it’s too short?” While this kind of condescending and dismissive attitude hinders productive bargaining conversations, it serves as a potent reminder of the very reason an overwhelming majority of us voted to unionize in the first place.
- The University also continues to evade providing basic information we requested one month ago that would enable us to more effectively evaluate their position on economic bargaining topics.
With your support behind us, we will continue to work through these challenges. Given that we have narrowed the overall number of disputes in recent sessions, we remain optimistic that we can reach a fair agreement in the near future. Let us know if you have any questions.Best,
CPW-UAW Bargaining Committee