In our latest bargaining session yesterday, we exchanged more proposals on Compensation, Non-Discrimination, Leaves of Absence and Union Security. We made small progress on Compensation, but still have significant differences on that topic as well as others. As we still have a number of obstacles, nearly 200 postdoc and associate researchers have now signed a letter telling the administration that if we don’t have a fair agreement by June 30, they will ask the bargaining committee to call a strike authorization vote–please feel free to add your name here.

The bulk of our discussions today revolved around the following topics:

  1. Compensation and benefits: We gave the university a new proposal that combined significant increases to minimum salaries with provisions to ensure increased compensation for all researchers. The University’s latest proposal included a new 2% lump sum payment for all researchers that would happen when the contract goes into effect, in addition to their newly proposed minimums of $60,000 for Postdocs and $66,100 for ARS and additional minimum 2% increase at every reappointment starting in 2021. While the new lump sum was a small step forward, we will continue to fight for more robust yearly increases and increases for those who would not benefit from the new minimum salary rates. The University also continues to firmly oppose any improved benefits beyond what all officers receive.

  2. Non-discrimination: We had more discussion today in an effort to continue working through our differences on discrimination and harassment protections. We made a new proposal that attempted to incorporate some of their concerns while maintaining Postdoc and Associate Researchers’ right to a fair and timely process for achieving fair outcomes to grievance/complaint regarding discrimination and harassment. Our disagreements on this topic continue to present one of the largest obstacles to reaching an overall fair agreement. We are particularly concerned that many of Columbia’s objections to our proposals seem to be based on their desire to protect the rights of accused harassers, rather than survivors.

  3. Union Security: We made modifications to our proposal for a union shop, a provision consistent with every other Columbia union contract, where all employees would share the cost of representation by paying dues or fees. The university has so far rejected this standard proposal.

If you would like to get more involved in the organizing efforts to win a fair contract, send us an email. We bargain again today and will provide further updates. 

In solidarity,

CPW-UAW Bargaining Committee