We had a short bargaining session yesterday, as well as a separate Health and Safety-focused bargaining subcommittee meeting at the end of last week. We are happy to report that we reached another tentative agreement yesterday on an article establishing fair workload protections. We spent most of our time yesterday discussing our proposals on Recognition, Employment Files, and Discipline and Discharge. While we did not reach agreement on those articles, or on our Health and Safety proposal, we believe we had constructive dialogue that will help us move forward. See below for a summary of these sessions.
Tentative agreement on Workload—We believe we reached agreement on a fair contract provision that establishes protections and an avenue of recourse against cases of abusive, arbitrary or unreasonable workload assigned by a supervisor, while also respecting the right of individual PARs to work as many hours on our projects as we choose.
Recognition—We are still working out some details on language. We want to make clear that the Union represents all the employees that were intended to be represented by our Union in the NLRB case and avoid any language that could open the door for some workers being inappropriately excluded. We hope to reach tentative agreement on this article soon.
Employment Files—While we have moved much closer to agreement on this article, the university still refuses to ensure the right for PARs to comment on information we believe is inaccurate in our employment files. This is a common provision in other postdoc union contracts.
Discipline and Discharge—While Columbia has agreed to the “just cause” standard, an important protection against arbitrary termination of position, we still have a number of differences in how to implement that standard most effectively under our contract.
Health and Safety—A subset of our respective bargaining committees met for a couple hours on Friday to discuss our Health and Safety proposals. We got to meet face-to-face with leadership of the University’s Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) office, learn about existing procedures at the university, hear their reactions to our initial bargaining proposal, and discuss possible ways to move toward agreement. We felt it was a productive meeting overall that will inform our next proposal to ensure that all PARs work in a safe, healthy environment and receive the training and equipment necessary to do so.
Our next bargaining session August 8th in the Studebaker Building from 9:00am-1:00pm. Please RSVP if you would like to attend a bargaining session.