In actions across campus and the community over recent days, we sent a clear message that Columbia needs to dramatically improve compensation for Postdocs and Associate Researchers. The administration’s initial response makes clear we need to continue expanding our voice inside and outside bargaining if we want to win improved compensation and a fair union contract by April 6.   As one Columbia administrator put it at the bargaining table, “The University does not believe that anyone is underpaid.” See below for more details on recent bargaining and related activities.

Fighting for fair compensation inside and outside bargaining

Thanks to the hundreds of Postdocs and Associates who signed our open letter, shared their stories and helped deliver our message regarding how Columbia’s lagging compensation practices harm us and scientific research.

  • The day before bargaining, delegations of researchers delivered our open letter demanding salary improvements to the offices of Provost Ira Katznelson and Dean Lee Goldman.
  • As we were bargaining with the university team, a delegation of researchers from our union were also meeting with and explaining our goals with US Representative Grace Meng, who sits on the House Appropriations Committee that oversees the federal budget funding most of the research at Columbia.
  • At the bargaining table, we explained the basis for our proposal for significant compensation improvements and shared stories from Postdocs and Associates about how Columbia’s lagging salaries undermine excellence and hinder equity and inclusion in our research community.

The fact that minimum postdoc salaries at Columbia are roughly 14% to 17% behind other New York City research institutions underscores why fair compensation is a core priority in our negotiations.

Other Updates from Bargaining on January 17 While we spent significant time on compensation, we also discussed our overall progress and believe we share a mutual interest with Columbia in reaching overall agreement on a contract in a timely manner.

We had a somewhat productive conversation around our package of four proposals on Appointments, Holidays, Vacation, and Leaves of Absence. We hope that by discussing all of these topics together, we can make progress on priority issues like improving the clarity and security of our appointments and establishing the right to fully-paid parental and other leaves of absence. We believe such improvements would make Columbia more competitive and inclusive.

While we believe Columbia genuinely wants to finish negotiations in a timely manner, the administration will need to make substantial changes to many of their proposals in order for us to reach a fair contract that achieves our bargaining goals. We have sessions scheduled for February 7 and February 12 and hope to continue making progress. Please click here to let us know if you can make it to an upcoming session.


CPW-UAW Bargaining Committee