We, the Postdoctoral and Associate Researchers at Columbia University, present the following contract demands to improve our working conditions and better support the mission of the University – to advance knowledge and learning at the highest level, attract a diverse faculty and student body, and recognize the importance of its location in New York City. These demands are based on bargaining surveys completed by a majority of the ~2,000 Postdocs and Associate Researchers.
These demands reflect the specific needs of Postdocs and Associate Researchers and a vision for our research community. They take into account the historic shifts towards longer postdocs and self-directed associate researchers, the specific challenges of living in New York City, and the need for an academic pipeline supporting greater diversity among rising research faculty. We aim to ensure fair pay and benefits for all Postdocs and Associate Researchers; to support all Postdocs’ and Associate Researchers’ continuing independent research and other careers; to provide greater stability for non-citizen researchers; to ensure that Postdocs and Associate Researchers with families can afford childcare and associated costs; and to build a truly inclusive, accessible, and diverse research community free from harassment and discrimination.
We believe that these goals will improve the world-class research conducted at Columbia University by increasing recruitment and retention of a diverse group of postdoctoral and associate research scientists.
Establish fair wages
We will strive for improved pay for all, commensurate with the value of our work and the high cost of living, including a significant increase to minimums and fair annual increases.
Improve healthcare for all
We will strive for equality in and improvements to medical, mental health, dental, and vision coverages, including dependent coverage, as well as access to healthcare providers affiliated with Columbia University.
Increase access to housing
We will strive for better access to affordable housing for all incoming Postdoctoral and Associate Researchers, and improved resources for those seeking accommodations outside of University housing.
Create a more family-friendly workplace
We will strive for increased access to affordable childcare, including affordable daycare centers and educational resources located near campus, improved child-care resources on campus, expansion of parent-friendly facilities, and improvements to guaranteed parental leave.
Foster a safe and productive work environment
We will strive for a neutral arbitration process, establish a fair process to resolve health and safety problems, and improved access to wellness resources and recreational facilities.
Ease the burden for new employees
We will strive for a transparent hiring procedure, including offer letters that detail funding sources, responsibilities, salary, benefits, access to the resources necessary to perform the work, and length of available funding; standardized minimal salary grades; relocation cost coverage; and timely paychecks and reimbursements.
Enhance retention and advancement opportunities
We will strive for transparency and consistency for all renewal, advancement, and dismissal proceedings, clear expectations associated with promotions, raises, and dismissals, and improved minimum appointment lengths.
Ensure freedom from harassment and bullying
We will strive for a clear and consistent process for addressing sexual and non-sexual workplace harassment and bullying with access to neutral arbitration when necessary.
Broaden access to retirement and other benefits
We will strive for the right to better plan for our futures through improved access to retirement, and other benefits including life insurance, disability insurance, (tax withholding for all researchers), and access to free tax advice.
Increase support for international researchers
We will strive for improved support for visa processing, immigration, and stronger protections for researchers holding visas.
Improve rights to paid vacation and leave standards
We will strive for enhanced and guaranteed access to paid vacation, as well as medical, family and other leaves of absence.
Expand access to educational resources and professional development
We will strive for access to courses offered at Columbia, expansion of tuition assistance, expansion of university support to CUPS and OPA for career development, expedited reimbursement for work-related expenses, and access to funds supporting individual professional development opportunities.
Improve transit and parking benefits
We will strive for improved and equitable transit and parking benefits.
Recognize and promote union rights and representation
We will strive to have the University recognize and allow for the performance of union representation duties, including making time for new employees to become oriented with their rights and responsibilities.