INDEX

Upcoming Bargaining Sessions

Monday, April 1st, 9am-1pm

Monday, April 15th, 9am-1pm

Monday, April 22nd, 2-5pm

Thursday, May 2nd, 1-5pm

Monday, May 20th, 2-5pm

    FEB25

Friday March 15th

We had our second bargaining session today and gave our first batch of proposed contract articles to Columbia’s team.  We had some productive initial conversation on some of our topics, but Columbia also passed several proposals communicating its central priorities in the negotiations.  While we left the meeting knowing how much work we have to do in coming months, we also know that with support and participation of Postdoc and Associate Researchers (PARs) across Columbia, we can win a fair agreement.

You can read a full summary below, but our proposals covered basic topics like Recognition as well as more substantive provisions that would make improvements and clarify basic workplace rights and benefits like payment for work-related travel and access to time off for holidays and vacations.

Columbia’s proposals, on the other hand and in their own words, would “preserve the status quo” by codifying their right to run the academic mission of the University and preserve their internal procedures on complaints regarding discrimination and sexual harassment.  For example, their initial proposal would require PARs to address sexual harassment or discrimination through Columbia’s existing procedures. Unfortunately, as many PARs know and as a growing number of prominent academic societies (e.g. National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine) have pointed out recently, these existing procedures too often fail to produce fair outcomes. We will be making our own counter-proposal to enhance protections against harassment and discrimination sometime soon–if you are interested in discussing or contributing to our development of this proposal, please join the Bullying, Discrimination and Harassment Working Group.

We look forward to continuing to develop further proposals, moving ahead with more bargaining sessions, and taking on what will be a challenging campaign to win a fair contract for all Postdoc and Associate Researchers at Columbia.

See below for a summary of our proposals passed today.

SUMMARY OF CPW-UAW PROPOSALS

Recognition: would codify official recognition of CPW-UAW

Past Practices: would protect benefits and conditions that we do not address specifically in the contract

Severability: would protect remainder of contract if one provision is declared unlawful and ensure our right to bargain over any impacts

Successorship: would preserve our contract if ownership of Columbia is transferred

Subcontracting: would protect against subcontracting of PAR work

Union-Management Committee: creates a joint committee to meet regularly during the life of the contract on matters related to our contract

Union Security: would ensure that PARs contribute equally to the cost of representation

Employee Assistance Program: would preserve access to EAP, which all PARs recently gained access to

Employment Files: would ensure access to and rights to ensure accuracy of our employment records

Travel: would improve Columbia payment to PARs for all work-related travel

Training: would ensure that PARs are paid for all time spent at trainings

Holidays: would clarify and improve rights to time off on holidays

Vacation: would clarify and improve access to vacation time off

Workspace and Materials: would ensure that Columbia provide space, materials, equipment, and facilities necessary for PARs to perform our work

SUMMARY OF COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PROPOSALS

Management and Academic Rights: would give Columbia wide-ranging discretion to determine that aspects of university operations are “academic” and therefore not subject to our collective bargaining relationship

Grievance: defines the process for how grievances would be handled

Arbitration: would establish access to a neutral arbitration process for grievances, but give the university broad discretion to block such grievances by calling them “academic.”

Non-Discrimination: would simply codify existing university policy in our contract

 

    FEB25

Monday February 25th

Today, our bargaining committee had our first negotiation session with the University administration. We began the meeting with introductions, and then our team presented our bargaining goals which have been ratified by 98% of voting Postdocs and Associate Researchers. You can read the bargaining goals here. The bargaining committee articulated how making these improvements can help to make Columbia a progressive leader for research institutions across the country. By making the university more accessible and inclusive, postdocs and ARS can spend more of our time dedicated to our research.

After our presentation, the university responded that the path to finalizing an agreement will be challenging, though they are committed to reaching an agreement and believe that collective bargaining works. Our bargaining goals encompass both economic and non-economic proposals, and we are excited to negotiate for provisions that both ease our financial burdens and establish new rights for researchers. For example, we aim to negotiate stronger recourse against discrimination and sexual harassment, a critical provision that could enable a researcher a better chance at achieving a fair and just resolution. These types of provisions, which equalize the power relationship between us and the university, would constitute a fundamental improvement to our work experience. We know the University is likely to resist such changes, and we are committed to work through those challenges.

While the meeting was cordial, their comments made clear that reaching a fair contract will take engaged participation from Postdocs and Associate Research Scientists across campus. We will continue to keep everyone apprised of updates moving forward.

The University’s bargaining team consists of Bernie Plum, an attorney with the law firm Proskauer Rose, Dan Driscoll (Vice-President and Chief Human Resources Officer) Patsy Catapano (Associate General Counsel) Linda Mischel Eisner (Director of Special Projects, Office of the President), Julia Hirschberg (Professor of Computer Science), Bill Innes (Associate Vice Dean-Human Resources at Columbia), Wil McCoy (Assistant Vice President, Budget and Planning at Columbia University Medical Center), Mary Ann Carlese (Senior Director, Labor Relations), Art Lerner-Lam (Deputy Director: Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory), Rose Razaghian (Dean of Academic Planning and Governance), Mike Shelanski (Senior Vice Dean for Research & Co-Director, Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain).