Our New Contract is in Effect! Now What? + December Events! Sign Up As A Member To Keep Our Union Strong

Thanks to our collective efforts we have a new 3 year union contract! What happens now? In this email we will overview what is happening, what happens next, contract implementation, campaigning for ongoing topics, and our current membership drive! 

🗓️💫First, a quick update on things happening this month:

  • Our December membership meeting will be Dec 14th @ 6:30 pm! A key agenda item will be discussing the potential amalgamation with the Mt. Sinai postdocs!
  • Save the date for our winter socials – December 12th on Morningside campus & December 18th at CUIMC!
  • Union local elections ongoing! Check here for more details

🏆🎉Key Victories Of Our Union Contract

There are numerous victories in our contract, please read through to make sure you have access to all the benefits. Here some highlights and information about implementation: 

Status:

  • Signing bonus of $1200 – all current employees should already have received this in your latest paycheck! If you are missing this payment write to postdocunion@uaw4100.org
  • Salary raises: effective as of November 1st – but have not yet been processed by HR. You should see these updated in your paychecks of December 15 or December31/January 1, with backpay to Nov 1st. 
  • Improved rights for fellows: If you are interested in this topic sign up to the Fellows working group
  • International employees: this benefit is in effect! If you are traveling for visa reasons, reach your department HR and email us at postdocunion@uaw4100.org if you want some help.
  • Hardship fund: will be available as of January 1st, 2024. Some members interested in discussing which regulations we want in place will meet on Monday at noon RSVP or send us feedback here.

✊The Fight Continues For Future Improvements  

Our union, as all unions, is an organization focused on ongoing support and campaigns to further rights, at the bargaining table and as well as outside it. The fight for better working conditions continues through assertive contract enforcement and continued organizing on topics, like childcare, back payments or the housing stipend. Sign up in our working groups if you are interested in organizing around these topics (or propose any other).

Columbia did not want to commit central money for our contract implementation, but the faculty at Columbia is circulating this letter requesting them to do so. We want to continue supporting this fight for more institutional support from Columbia to its core missions! Email us at postodocunion@uaw4100.org if you want to help.


💥Join the majority and support your union by becoming a member!💥

Throughout our contract campaign a majority of postdocs and ARSs have chosen to become union members which gave us the power to win all these improvements. Growing our membership even more will help a robust contract implementation, campaigning on additional topics, and building strength for future contracts

Sign up here to become a member and join the majority of us building a better Columbia for all postdocs and ARSs

(to decline membership you are required to indicate in the same link and contribute a comparable fair share fee for all of us to share the cost of negotiations and representation) 

These are some of the perks of union membership:  

📣1.- enables us to have a powerful voice as Postdocs and ARSs at Columbia and beyond. Our collective power demonstrated that when we advocate for our rights, we have the ability to protect ourselves and enforce our values.

🪧2.- makes our Union more democratic and inclusive, since membership gives you the right to take part in the Union’s governance through elections, working groups, committees and other processes, including and how to spend our financial resources. For your voice to be heard, it is in your best interest that you become a Union member. 
🌍3.- you will be joining a broader movement of postdocs and academic researchers who are unionizing across NYC and the country to improve conditions of researchers in academia.


Lasty, again these achievements reflect that when we work together to defend our rights, we win. We thank each and every one of you who talked to co-workers, attended rallies, pickets, bargaining sessions and overall for the strong solidarity across disciplines, departments, campuses… Together, we have achieved significant improvements not only for us at Columbia but also set the bar for other postdocs in the city on the path of unionization (like Cornell, Mt. Sinai, Princeton, NYU). 

As aforementioned, the fight goes on. Keep an eye out for further updates, so you can have an impact in the processes of attaining our demands!

Together, we are stronger.

In solidarity,

Bargaining & Organizing Committees 


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Notice of Nomination and Election of Union Stewards (17 Total) and Eboard (7 Total)

November 27, 2023

Nominations are hereby declared open on November 27, 2023 for the CPW-UAW Steward [17 positions], President, Vicepresident , Financial Secretary, Trustee [2], Seargant at Arms and Guide in the Executive Board [7 position]:

Stewards (17 positions):

Executive Board (7 position):

  • President
  • Vice President
  • Financial Secretary
  • Trustee
  • Trustee
  • Sergeant at Arms
  • Guide

All unit members having signed a CPW-UAW membership card and meeting the eligibility criteria, as outlined in Article 15 of the CPW-UAW Local 4100 bylaws, are automatically considered nominees for positions on the Executive Board and as stewards in their respective districts. In accordance with the bylaws, eligibility requirements for candidates are as follows: candidates for the Executive Board must have maintained continuous good standing for a period of one (1) year preceding the acceptance of nomination, while candidates for the steward position must have maintained continuous good standing for a period of ninety (90) days prior to accepting nomination.

Membership Eligibility Description (per the bylaws): 

Membership in this Local Union shall be extended to all employees who have at any time been under titles that come under the jurisdiction of this Local Union. Membership shall be defined as members in good standing as defined in the International Constitution. 

CPW-UAW has 24 steward positions, broken up into districts. For this election there are 17 open steward positions and 7 open executive board positions. Each district is a campus, building/s, or lab where postdoctoral academic workers are working. For every 75 workers in a district, one steward will be elected. To learn more about the responsibilities of the stewards, visit the UAW constitution (Article 45) and our Local Bylaws (Article 10). 

Any eligible member in good standing who wishes to accept the nomination for one of the Executive board or steward positions in their district must indicate their intention, in writing, including the position they wish to run for. You can only run for one position. The acceptance of your nomination in writing must be submitted no later than December 11th 11:59pm EST. Submit your acceptance to the CPW-UAW Elections committee by emailing cpwuawelections@gmail.com. If you have questions about which district you belong to, please reach out to the Elections committee at cpwuawelections@gmail.com. 

Steward District Map 

Click here to view the District Map, which shows the breakdown of the number of stewards per Steward District. 

Positions on the Executive Board

The Executive Board positions are elected for a term expiring in November 2026. Officers are allowed to vacate their positions before the end of their terms, in which case the Elections Committee would hold a vacancy election. Click here to read more about the responsibilities of the Executive Board Officer positions.

Candidate Statements (Optional)

Each candidate may write and submit a candidate statement of no more than 250 words. These statements will be posted on the CPW-UAW website if there are contested elections. Your mailing address, phone number, and personal email address must be included, but will not be counted toward the 250 words. 

It is the responsibility of the candidate to submit the candidate statement, if they choose to have one. All candidate statements must be received by the time nominations close on December 11th at 11:59pm EST.

Candidates Meeting 

Following the close of nominations, all candidates in contested districts will meet with the Elections Committee via Zoom. This meeting will determine the order of names on the ballot and the method of mass communications, and address other concerns any candidate may have. This meeting will take place following the close of nominations, but before ballots are sent to members. 

Election Dates, Times and Locations

In the event that the number of eligible candidates who accept nomination for the specified position do not exceed the number of vacant positions, such candidates will be deemed elected by acclamation and no election will be held. 

If there are contested positions, elections will take place online from January 8th to January 12th . If you are a member of the union, you will receive a ballot in your email and text messages once voting begins. If you wish to participate, you will need to sign a membership card and join the union

  • Election Location: Online
  • Election Start Date: Monday, January 8th at 9:00am EST
  • Election End Date: Friday, January 12th at 11:59pm EST

A runoff election, if necessary, will be held at a future date. The details will be announced if necessary. 


HAVE AN ISSUE? GET IN CONTACT!

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Results on statement vote

The vote on whether our union should adopt this statement on Columbia University’s response to the situation in Gaza, which was proposed by some members at our November membership meeting, has concluded as of 12:00pm today. Postdocs and Associate Researchers at Columbia University cast a total of 284 ballots. Union members voted with a plurality of 48.3% to not have the union endorse the drafted statement on Gaza.

Members voted as follows:

  • 41% Voted in favor of adopting the statement 
  • 48.3% Voted against adopting the statement
  • 10.7% Voted to abstain 

In solidarity,

CPW-UAW Elections Committee

Message from the Executive Board

We understand that some of you may be disappointed with these recent results. As a relatively young Local, we acknowledge that we are still learning how to conduct difficult conversations. 

During our latest membership meetings, members expressed their commitment to establishing the Civil and Human Rights Committee. This committee aims to foster discussions, bringing together members of our Local, from various countries and cultures who share a common passion for science and research. The committee will focus on exploring how researchers in academia can contribute to promoting peace, social justice, and human rights in our community and at large. 

We invite any interested members to sign up to participate in these important discussions and contribute to the work of the Civil and Human Rights Committee. Your involvement will play a crucial role in shaping the future of our Local and advancing our shared goals.

We want to emphasize that, as a democratic organization, every member has the right to propose initiatives to enhance our Local. Whether it’s suggesting amendments to the bylaws (Article 21), proposing discussions or votes at membership meetings, or suggesting the formation of new working groups and committees, your input is crucial to our collective growth. This is particularly relevant as we approach elections for several positions in our Executive Board and stewards.

Your union is shaped by all of us collectively, and we encourage each member to be aware of their rights and actively engage in the democratic processes that guide our organization.

Thank you for your continued dedication to our union. Together, we can create a stronger, more inclusive community that reflects the diverse perspectives and experiences of all our members.

In Solidarity, 

CPW-UAW Executive Board


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Vote and forward to colleagues + addressing concerns about the process

This is a reminder about the vote on whether to accept or reject this statement on Columbia University’s response to the situation in Gaza. Voting will close tomorrow Wednesday at noon (12pm). We have received communication that several members did not receive the link to vote. Please, forward this email to your colleagues to make sure they have the chance to participate. 

The vote is a secret ballot and only the two postdocs elected to the Elections Committee will have access to the results and will provide summaries of the votes. No other postdocs/ARSs will see how you voted.
Please, follow this link to vote: Yes, No or Abstain. For the statement to be endorsed it must receive a majority (50+1%) yes vote out of the total votes cast.

VOTE HERE!

The Vote will close on Wednesday November 22nd at 12 PM (noon)

Addressing concerns raised by members about the process: 

As Executive Board of the local we want to be transparent about  the shortcomings in which this discussion and vote has been conducted. As a young union (only three years old) we have only limited experience and resources to handle discussions on difficult topics. It is incredibly important, and we deeply appreciate everyone who has shared thoughts as we try to learn together how to better take democratic decisions in our Union. 

We want to bring to your attention that several members submitted amendments in good faith assuming that they would be discussed before a vote at the membership meeting last Thursday. The Executive Board did not write nor manage the feedback process for the statement – including the Google Form requesting amendments emailed on November 15. Over the past two weeks, Eboard members have been catching up on research, addressing issues arising from the new contract, fulfilling legal obligations of the local, and attending to members’ workplace concerns – all issues that were temporarily set aside during contract negotiations-. This must not serve as an excuse, but just an explanation. Upon receiving the request from members to discuss this matter – which is every union member’s right – we provided the platform to do so. However, we recognize that we have been hands-off in a process that should have been overseen, and this was a misstep on our part. We sincerely apologize.

We acknowledge that as elected members, the Executive Board bears the responsibility of ensuring all voices are heard. We hope this experience serves the Local to learn and improve future discussions.

In solidarity, 

CPW-UAW Executive Board


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Vote whether our union should adopt this statement on Columbia University’s response to the situation in Gaza

This is a correction of the previous email regarding the length of the vote. The vote will last 3 working days (not calendar days as stated in the previous email). Therefore the vote will close on Wednesday November 22nd at 12pm (noon). See more details below.

At our membership meeting yesterday members decided to put the following statement regarding Columbia University’s response to the situation in Gaza for an online vote for 3 days. Only votes of members will be considered.

Please, follow this link to vote: Yes, No or Abstain whether our union should adopt the statement regarding Columbia University’s response to the situation in Gaza.

VOTE HERE!

The Vote will close on Wednesday November 22nd at 12 PM (noon)


At our membership meeting yesterday members decided to put the following statement  regarding Columbia University’s response to the situation in Gaza for an online vote for 3 days. Only votes of members will be considered. 

Please, follow this link to vote: Yes, No or Abstain whether our union should adopt the following statement regarding the situation in Gaza. 

VOTE HERE!

The Vote will close on Sunday November 12th at 11:59pm

In solidarity, 

Executive Board and Organizing committee


HAVE AN ISSUE? GET IN CONTACT!

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Membership meeting tomorrow 11/16/23 at 6:30pm

You should receive the $1,200 lump sum bonus on your paycheck for Nov 15th or, if you are a Fellow, in a special paycheck for November 17th. Please reach out if you can’t see it! 

Remember that our November membership meeting is tomorrow, Thursday 11/16/23 at 6:30pm both in person (CUMC, Morningside or Zuckerman Institute) and zoom

RSVP here to attend in person or zoom

We will have our Finance and Executive Board reports (including updates on contract implementation) and an announcement from the Elections Committee about elections for the Executive Board and stewards positions in our Local. 

In addition, some members want to present this statement regarding the situation in Gaza to discuss and vote whether our Local should endorse it. In order to conduct the discussion and vote in a productive manner we propose the following structure (but remember that as a member you can propose an alternative at the beginning of the meeting)

  • Please, read the statement before the meeting.
  • We will start with a reading of the statement followed by 10 min of members speaking in favor and against the statement.
    • If you want to speak, feel free to prepare 30 seconds of points. Not everyone will be able to speak unless we all vote to lengthen the meeting. 
  • You can propose changes/deletions/additions (amendments) to the statement or you can propose an alternative statement.
    • All proposed changes and/or alternative statements will be considered and voted by members at the meeting and if approved the final statement that will be put for a vote will be the amended one. 
  • At the meeting you can also propose alternative ways of voting

You can submit any changes you’d like into this form for consideration and vote of members at the meeting.

  • At the meeting we will vote yes/no/abstain on the motion made by members to put the statement to a vote by all union members via an online form over the course of 3 days. Voting in favor of putting the statement to a vote is NOT a vote to endorse the statement. For example,
    • You can vote in favor of opening the online vote and then vote online against endorsing the statement. 
    • You can vote against putting the statement for a vote and, if members agree to put it to a vote, still vote in favor of the statement. 
    • You can Abstain from the initial vote, and still decide to vote for or against the statement if it ends up going to a vote.

In order to conduct our meeting in an orderly fashion we will follow parliamentary rules (or Robert rules of order). You can find a cheat sheet here. However, remember that if you want to propose anything at the meeting and don’t know how we are all there to help.

In solidarity, 

Executive Board and Organizing committee


HAVE AN ISSUE? GET IN CONTACT!

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Membership meeting next Thursday 11/16/23 at 6:30pm

We will have our November membership meeting next Thursday 11/16/23 at 6:30pm both in person (CUMC, Morningside or Zuckerman Institute) and zoom

RSVP here to attend in person or zoom

Among topics proposed to discuss at this meeting: 

  • Finance and Executive Board report (including tentative timeline for the implementation of the new contract)
  • Announcement of Union Local Elections for Executive Board and Steward positions
  • As per members’ request, discussion on the Local endorsing the solidarity statement below regarding the current situation in Gaza.
    • Click here to read the statement that will be discussed at the membership meeting.
    • At the meeting,  we will additionally establish how will we vote on whether or not to endorse the statement. 
    • The current proposal is that online voting will open after the membership meeting for 3 days, after which, if the statement is approved, it will be made public. However, this method of endorsing the statement is also open to discussion and revision at the membership meeting. 
  • And bring any other suggestions!

In solidarity, 

Executive Board and Organizing committee


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Join the Majority – Sign Up for our Union Now

Over the past year, researchers joined together to win millions of dollars in improvements we deserve from Columbia University, one of the wealthiest academic institutions in the world. That collective voice and power reflects the growing majority membership of Postdocs/ARSs in our union, resulting in the ratification of our new 3 year union contract by 89.4% last week.

As our new contract goes into effect, it is a condition of employment that you contribute your fair share of the cost of representation. Paying membership dues or fees builds a stronger researcher voice that enables us to build a more just research workplace. Please make your choice immediately to fulfill your obligation in a timely manner, and avoid owing retroactive dues or fees.

The achievements in this new contract improve our lives as Postdocs and ARSs and secure better working conditions for all of us. Among the gains made in this contract, we won new economic improvements including:

  • 20% increase to salary minimums over life of the agreement
  • Guaranteed annual 3% raises
  • Guaranteed experience-based increases for the first time ever at Columbia
  • $1,200 ratification bonus
  • More equality for Fellows including $3,500 to compensate for loss of benefits
  • $500,000 emergency fund for unexpected costs
  • Additional financial support for visa renewal ($1,250), relocation costs ($1,500), and childcare subsidy (+$1,000)

We won these improvements through the consistent support and participation of the majority of researchers. This includes the collective resources provided by union members dues which are necessary for maintaining a strong union, and winning further gains in areas like housing and childcare. Majority membership also makes our Union more democratic and inclusive, since membership gives you the right to take part in our union’s decision-making processes.

In order to cover the cost of representation in a fair and equitable way, it is a condition of employment that you either become a member and pay dues (1.44% of gross salary) or decline membership and pay a fair-share fee (1.22%). Click here to accept or decline membership now and avoid the potential to owe retroactive dues or fees.

If you have any questions feel free to reach out at postdocunion@uaw4100.org or check our website FAQ. Together, we are stronger.

In solidarity,

CPW-UAW Local 4100 Executive Board


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Contract Ratification Vote Results

The vote on whether to ratify our tentative agreement with Columbia has concluded as of 12:00pm today. Postdocs and Associate Researchers at Columbia University cast a total of 891 ballots. Union members voted with a majority of 88.4% Yes to ratify the tentative agreement as our contract.

Members voted as follows:

  • 88.4% voted in favor of ratifying the agreement
  • 11.5% voted against ratifying the agreement

Out of the total ballots cast:

  • 89.4% voted in favor of ratifying the agreement
  • 10.6% voted against ratifying the agreement

Thank you to everyone who participated in the vote. After more than six months of bargaining, this vote is a strong mandate for researchers to continue improving our working conditions and the research conditions at Columbia. 

In addition, a  majority of researchers have signed up for union membership! Click here to sign up as a member of our union and forward this link to your colleagues and encourage them to become a member of our union.

In solidarity,

CPW-UAW Elections Committee


HAVE AN ISSUE? GET IN CONTACT!

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[24 HOURS LEFT] Vote Now on the Tentative Agreement

Today is the last full day left for you to vote on whether or not to accept the tentatively agreed contract. The vote will close tomorrow, Tuesday, October 31st at noon! 
As a reminder, if this agreement is approved, this will be the contract valid for the next three years. If this offer is rejected, we would need to strike, and we would need to have a powerful majority strike in order to push for a better deal.

Vote today in this link and forward to your friends & colleagues

(details of the offer included in the link to vote)

Please read the full contract offer here and see a summary below. 

What this proposal contains: (See the full offer HERE)

  • A 3 year contract, lasting until June 30th, 2026
  • $70,000 minimum for postdoctoral research scientist/scholars and postdoctoral fellows
  • $77,000 minimum for associate research scientists/scholars
  • These minimums for new hires will increase 1.5% per year 
  • 3% yearly raises.
  • For researchers already at Columbia (not new hires) a one-time ratification salary adjustment: $1000 increase over the minimum per each year of experience up to 5 years for postdocs and 3 years for ARSs. (see the table in the contract below).
  • For anyone already making over these new minimums they will get a 3% increase. 
  • $1,200 ratification bonus. 
  • Limits on classification of fellows as independent contractors. We will now be able to challenge (grieve) postdoctoral fellow status as long as the funding agency does not require contractor status. If the agency requires contractor status, the loss of benefits caused by this  will be compensated for with $3,500 per year if they have been working at Columbia for at least 2 years
  • Hardship fund of $500,000 for the 3 years of the agreement to cover medical emergencies of postdocs/ARSs
  • Neutral third party arbitration for cases of bullying once the new power-based harassment policy is established.
  • $1,250 to cover Visa renewals, increasing support for International researchers.
  • $1,500 relocation payment for new employees (taxable).
  • $5000 in a childcare FSA account (tax free) per family for kids up to 6 years (before this negotiation it was not part of the contract)

Demands which the employer has not agreed to in this offer: 

  • Childcare payments for each child and up to the age of 13
  • Housing stipend of $5,000
  • Cost Of Living Adjustments (COLA) to keep up with inflation.
  • Recognition of experience at other universities 
  • There is no explicit commitment for institutional support from the university (it is up to them to decide how to finance this offer).
  • Raises to minimums are not retroactive from July 1.
  • Also this offer would mean withdrawing all ULP’s filed against Columbia’s behavior during bargaining (click here for more on the ULPs that will be withdrawn and not)

In solidarity,

Your Friendly Neighborhood Bargaining & Organizing Committees.


HAVE AN ISSUE? GET IN CONTACT!

Want to stay informed? Check out our website and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and join our and Slack​.