With roughly four weeks to go before our April 6 deadline, we had another somewhat productive bargaining session yesterday. We reached two new tentative agreements (which would establish protections against retaliation for pursuing complaints related to the University’s Copyright, Intellectual Property, and Research Integrity policies) and made some limited new progress in our ongoing discussions on Grievance and Arbitration, Appointments and Union Rights and Access.  

As we move closer to our deadline, we have many issues to resolve but remain confident we can reach a fair agreement by April 6—as long as Columbia moves more quickly. The University provided no new proposals on our economic priorities yesterday, which was disappointing. We did make some progress on a few of the core provisions that will enable us to have a strong union during the life of our first contract. We – the Bargaining Committee and researchers across Columbia – will need to continue making clear to this administration that we want and deserve a contract that reflects the tremendous value we bring to this institution and establishes robust rights and protections that will help establish a more inclusive research community. See below for more details on the last session.

Grievance and Arbitration—Columbia made an important move by making the process shorter. But the University still has a number of provisions that do not exist in any other contracts at Columbia, that would make it more tedious and difficult to efficiently enforce rights when we have disagreements under the contract. This is arguably the most important article in the contract and we intend to continue fighting to have an efficient, fair process for addressing grievances.

Appointments—We have modified our proposal to seek one-year appointments, with reasonable efforts to provide advanced notification of renewal and non-renewal. Our proposal also includes stipulations for standardizing appointment letters so that new Postdocs have a clear understanding of their new position and accessible support in their new role.

Union Rights and Access—Columbia made a new proposal on this topic for the first time in months, a positive sign in itself, but the proposal still falls far short of what we can agree to. They offered for the first time to provide a list of the bargaining unit to the union on a regular basis, but the proposal has major flaws. Their proposal also continues to lack any provision of union access to orientations so that new researchers can learn about their rights under our contract when they start work at Columbia—this basic provision exists for most other workers at Columbia and will enable us to have the strongest possible union over time.

Tentative agreement on Copyright and Intellectual Property and on Research Integrity—In these two tentative agreements, we agreed to codify coverage and rights under the University’s policies and procedures in this area. While disputes in these areas will continue to be taken up under existing policies, we negotiated a new protection against retaliation for raising complaints or otherwise participating in any of these procedures. We also agreed that the Union-Management Committee may discuss the topic of how to address authorship disputes.Our next session is Wednesday, March 18th, 9:30am-1pm in Hammer Building Room LL106—please rsvp here if you would like to attend.


The CPW-UAW Bargaining Committee