We had a short bargaining session on Thursday where we presented initial proposals on our major economic topics. We made proposals on Compensation, Health Benefits, Retirement, Relocation Benefits, Tuition Benefits, and Tax Assistance. We expect to have many discussions over these issues in coming months before reaching a fair agreement. We also expect to provide a few more outstanding proposals on our next bargaining session on September 16th.
Throughout our campaign and in hundreds of bargaining surveys, PARs have made clear the extreme financial challenges of working and living in one of the most expensive cities in the world. These challenges not only make our lives difficult, but also undermine our ability to give our fullest attention to the research that brought us to Columbia in the first place.
Our economic proposals as a whole aim to improve the overall standard of living for PARs and our families, strengthen our ability to focus on the research we care about, and make Columbia a more inclusive and competitive institution. For example, in recent years, Columbia has fallen behind other NYC institutions who have increased minimum Postdoc salaries significantly. When accounting for cost of living, we also believe Columbia salaries lag far behind colleagues at places like Harvard, Yale and Stanford. To remain fair and competitive, Columbia must do better.
In addition to giving initial economic proposals, we briefly revisited the topic of Non-Discrimination. Thus far, Columbia has barely changed its position on this priority issue for PARs. Since, among other things, the administration has refused to consider protections against “bullying” in the contract because they question whether it is a real problem, we provided them with some of the latest news coverage from the journal Nature about the growing acknowledgement of and efforts to address this problem in the international research community. Unfortunately, Columbia’s bureaucratically-oriented administrators are out of touch with what daily life can be like in a research laboratory. Rather than engage in more arguments at the table yesterday on this important topic, we chose to provide them with additional information to give them an opportunity to consider the importance of this proposal.
Our next bargaining session September 16th at the Studebaker Building from 9:00am-1:00pm.
CPW-UAW Bargaining Committee