In our latest bargaining session with the Columbia team yesterday, we made a little bit more progress even as we continue to have many major issues to resolve. We are happy to report that we reached a tentative agreement on our Employment Files article. We had further substantive discussion and gave new proposals on Health and Safety and International Researcher Rights. We also discussed setting aside additional time to discuss our proposal to enhance paid leave options, a key component of our efforts to enhance gender equity in our contract negotiations. See below for a more extensive update.
Tentative agreement on Employment Files: Our tentative agreement on this topic ensures confidentiality of our employment files; prompt access to our files when we request it; the right to review and copy our files; and the right to submit a response to any information we disagree with, which will be maintained as part of the file.
Health and Safety. We gave Columbia a new counter proposal on this topic that aimed to be responsive to some of the concerns they had raised in response to our previous proposals. While we have achieved a conceptual agreement that PARs will have enforceable health and safety protections under our contract, Columbia continues to refuse to provide more detailed language that we believe would help clarify certain aspects of those rights. We hope they bring a more responsive counter proposal to our next session.
International Researcher Rights. In our counter proposal on international researcher rights, we made a number of modifications based on some of our discussions last week with representatives from the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO). For example, we acknowledged that some of our proposed provisions could more clearly acknowledge how federal law places certain constraints on what the University can and cannot do to enhance the rights of PARs on issues such as visa options.
More discussion on paid leaves. We made clear that we hope to have further discussions in coming weeks about our proposal to improve paid leave options for PARs. We see improved paid family leave in particular as a critical benefit that could make Columbia more inclusive and be a leader in enhancing gender equity in the academic workforce. Numerous studies make clear that the lack of family-friendly benefits, including paid parental and family leave, disproportionately hurt women and constitute one of the barriers to women’s access to and participation in the academic workforce.
Our next full bargaining session is on October 28. We will keep you informed of any other major development.
CPW-UAW Bargaining Committee