We had a frustrating bargaining session yesterday. While we hoped to come closer to and/or reach tentative agreements on several contract articles, we made very little progress.

We spent much of our session discussing our Intellectual Property proposal. Our proposal aims to clarify that postdocs and Associate Research Scientist (PARs) have the same rights as other full-time researchers, including faculty, as well as create clear protections against retaliation for PARs who pursue complaints involving intellectual property or scholarly misconduct. The University unfortunately has refused to make a proposal on this topic and told us today they intend to have no language in our contract at all in this area. Columbia’s team attempted to argue that because this topic is related to the academic mission of the University the rights of PARs do not belong in an agreement covering employment conditions. Given the enormous contributions we make to the University’s research mission, as employees, we obviously disagree.

We also had further discussion of our Recognition, Employment Files, and Discipline and Discharge proposals. On Recognition, the university continues to propose language that we are concerned would unnecessarily exclude people who bring their own funding to Columbia who believe would appropriately be represented by the Union. We believe we came a little closer to agreement on Employment Files, but will need to keep working on this topic. Finally, in an effort to come closer together on Discipline and Discharge, we had a lengthy discussion aimed at understanding how the university currently handles potential discipline and discharge of PARs. We expect to have many more conversations on this article in coming sessions.

Frustrating sessions like yesterday show that to achieve a fair contract we will need to demonstrate to the University that we are valuable members of the research community and we deserve fair and equitable working conditions in our contract.

Our next bargaining session August 15th at the Medical Center from 9:00am-1:00pm. Please RSVP if you would like to attend a bargaining session.

CPW-UAW Bargaining Committee