First, we want to give a shout out and thanks to all the Postdoc and Associate Researchers, as well as other members of our community, who are stepping up as volunteers to help with the COVID-19 crisis. The response to this crisis has been truly uplifting. See below for opportunities to get involved if you are interested.
Thanks also to everyone who has filled out the CPW-UAW COVID-19 Survey. Based on feedback from researchers across campus, we sent a letter communicating numerous concerns to the Columbia administration last week. We expect to continue discussing these and other concerns with the administration as the pandemic continues to evolve. In the immediate term, if you believe you are being required to report to work on campus in violation of the COVID-19 “essential research” guidelines, please fill out the CPW-UAW survey or email us.
Bargaining Update from 3/27/20
The bargaining committee continues working to bring the negotiations for our first contract to a successful conclusion. In our latest bargaining session on Friday, we made some more progress in a number of areas. Columbia’s increasing willingness to find common ground has been encouraging in recent sessions, but they will still need to increase their pace even more in order to achieve our goal of reaching a fair agreement in a timely manner.
In Friday’s session, we made meaningful progress on roughly a half dozen contract articles. We are very close to agreement on language covering Union Recognition and International Researcher Rights. We also moved closer to agreement on Appointments and Vacation, which would ultimately be contingent on reaching agreement on our package proposal also covering paid family and other leaves of absence. Finally, we started making more progress on proposals covering Union Rights and Grievance and Arbitration, key provisions that would enable researchers to maintain a strong and effective union during the life of our first contract—but Columbia still needs to move much farther toward fair agreements in this area.
While we are making increasing progress overall, Columbia’s team is still moving slowly on many of the core issues and other aspects of the negotiations that hinder the pace of progress. For example, they have failed thus far to provide any response to an important request for information we submitted in early March that would enable us to more adequately evaluate the University position on a number of our proposals covering economic benefits. They have also failed to offer any counter proposal to our proposal covering Professional Development, even though we made this proposal more than six months ago.
We have more sessions scheduled this week. Thanks to all the researchers who have recently written to our elected representatives in Congress asking for their support in our efforts to win a fair agreement. Click here to sign up for other opportunities to help us win a fair contract!
COVID-19 Related Volunteer Opportunities
Currently, there is an effort to coordinate Postdoctoral and Associate Research Scientist who would like to volunteer with COVID-19 related efforts. The Columbia Researchers Against COVID-19 (The CRAC Team) was formed to coordinate connecting volunteers with a number of research groups, and projects to suit their interests and abilities. Please sign up here if you are interested.
There are also current efforts to try and help facilitate childcare (babysitters) for front line healthcare workers at Columbia during this crisis. They are not specifically looking for students/postdocs – anyone in the community is also welcome – though they are hoping to start with people with experience they can back up with a reference. Positions will be based on geographic location to minimize travel and cost.
CPW-UAW Bargaining Committee