Join us at the Velocity Ride to End Cancer!

On Sunday, October 6th, some of us will be handing out information after the Velocity Ride to End Cancer, an important fund-raising event for cancer research at Columbia. We will be sharing information about the important role of postdocs and ARSs and how improvements to our working conditions can enhance the quality of research. Please click here if you would like to join us.

Bargaining Update 9/26/2019

In our most recent bargaining session, we exchanged proposals on a handful of topics and had a lengthy discussion with representatives from the University’s International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO). We reached no new tentative agreements. Among highlights, Columbia’s team finally gave us an initial counter proposal on our International Researcher Rights article; and we presented our initial counter proposal to the University’s Management and Academic Rights article. See below for more details about the session.

International Researcher Rights. We spent most of the session hearing from and asking questions of two representatives from the ISSO. As PARs appreciate the ISSO and all it does, we were glad to have the opportunity to ask questions about how they currently handle a variety of issues related to our proposal, such as how and why the University determines whether to apply for a H versus J (or other) visa when offering an appointment to a postdoc or ARS.

The University’s first proposal on this topic was definitely an important step in the right direction acknowledging some of the unique concerns of international PARs, but it has major flaws. While the University envisions the possibility of PARs continuing to work or be re-employed when they are prevented from re-entry to the US or otherwise have problems with work authorization status, important aspects of our proposal, their language has far too many contingencies to make these meaningful provisions at this point. Their proposal also makes no mention of several other critical topics from our proposal.

Management Rights. As this article is one of Columbia’s central priorities, we presented an initial counter proposal that seeks to balance our desire to negotiate enforceable workplace rights and improvements with the administration’s desire to maintain their academic and management rights to run the university. We expect such an article to be in our final contract, but our proposal is contingent on reaching a complete agreement as we are only willing to acknowledge their management rights once we know what OUR rights will be under our contract.

Other proposals exchanged. We gave new counter proposals on Employment Files, Grievance and Arbitration, and Union Security. The University gave us a new counter proposal on Health and Safety. On this last topic, while we have reached a common understanding that PARs will have broadly enforceable rights to a safe and healthy workplace, the University continues to refuse to acknowledge some of the specific examples that we would like to see enumerated in the contract language. After two subcommittee meetings on this topic, we were disappointed not to see more substantive change in their proposal. We will continue to work on this one.

Our next session is October 3rd from 2:00-5:00pm at CUMC in Hammer LL210.

Please let us know if you would like to attend a bargaining session.


CPW-UAW Bargaining Committee