In our latest bargaining session Monday, we continued to make modest progress on some of the core non-economic issues remaining in our ongoing negotiations. We would again like to thank all the postdoc and associate researchers who have stepped up in recent weeks to amplify our bargaining demands, including reaching out to administrators and elected leader allies from around New York City. Please expect to do more in the coming days as we continue to move toward the research ramp-up. See fuller bargaining update below.

In sadness and outrage at the horrific murder of George Floyd, our bargaining committee also released a statement of solidarity with Black communities and against anti-Black violence. We believe that one of our fundamental purposes as a union is to use our collective voice to fight all forms of bigotry, racism and other forms of oppression and to work towards a more inclusive and equitable community inside and outside the walls of Columbia.

CPW-UAW Bargaining June 1, 2020

Columbia continues to condition any pay increases for next year on reaching agreement before the end of June. While we question the legitimacy and basis for that position, both bargaining committees have expressed a mutual desire to reach agreement in the next month. It is therefore critical that we make consistent progress as we move forward. While progress was made, Monday also showed that Columbia needs to pick up the pace on meeting some of our core demands on protections for survivors of discrimination and harassment, fair compensation, and our rights to effective representation during the life of our contract.

Most of our discussion Monday revolved around Package 2 of our outstanding proposals: the University presented a revised and improved proposal on Grievance and Arbitration, perhaps the most important article in a first union contract, which lays out the procedure by which we enforce rights and protections we have negotiated in other articles; we exchanged proposals on and came very close to resolving the Union Rights article; we presented new counter proposals on Management Rights and Union Security to the University; and we had brief discussion of the outstanding flaws in the University’s Non-Discrimination proposal. We also had a lengthy discussion about the problems in the University’s standing Compensation proposal.

In short, we continue to face several problematic positions from Columbia on major issues that are blocking our ability to reach a fair, full agreement.  

  • Compensation: Columbia continues to propose that minimum salaries lag behind most other NYC institutions in the short term, that hundreds of researchers receive no guaranteed increase until at least July 2021, and no increases for long term service.  
  • Non-Discrimination: while Columbia has acknowledged that their investigatory process can take too long, they still have refused to agree to any language ensuring a timely process for those who need it.
  • Union versus management rights during the contract: Columbia continues to make proposals that would give them an unusually robust ability to challenge our right to take grievances to neutral arbitration and continues to oppose our proposal for union security, where out of fairness all unit members share the cost of representation to ensure adequate resources for engaging in effective representation into the future.  

We will be bargaining again on Friday and will be in touch again soon.

In solidarity,

The CPW-UAW bargaining committee