We are excited to announce that after much debate both Columbia Postdoctoral Workers-UAW (CPW) and Graduate Workers of Columbia-UAW (GWC) voted to ratify the proposed bargaining framework from Columbia. CPW cast 504 ballots, 450 yes, 25 no and 29 challenges. GWC cast 1975 ballots, 1035 yes, 720 no and 220 challenges.
According to the framework, this means that Columbia will withdraw its request for review against our union, as well as its implicit threat to the rights of postdocs and graduate workers to unionize nationally, and begin contract negotiations no later than February 25th, 2019. It also means that, so long as Columbia bargains in good faith, we agree not to strike until April 6th, 2020. This is a massive victory for our union for which we should feel duly proud.
During the past week there was much discussion over Columbia’s proposal and the best way to get the administration to bargain fairly with our unions. Given Columbia’s seventeen years of opposition to graduate worker unionization, and the legitimate distrust of their intentions that this has caused, the outcome of GWC’s vote represents graduate workers’ enduring resolve to improve conditions at Columbia. While we commend this first step Columbia has made towards engaging in bargaining, it is clear that Columbia must work to improve its trustworthiness at the bargaining table.
Ultimately, this vote confirms that both CPW and GWC are committed to moving forward and negotiating good contracts. We won this result by building power through our vote and GWC’s strike, as well as years of organizing by both unions, and we are confident that we can use that same power to win a fair contract.
We hope this is the start of constructive negotiations. We will be in touch soon about steps in preparations for bargaining.
CPW-UAW Bargaining Committee,
Hila Milo Rasouly
Ignacio Hernandez Morato