July 31st, 11:30 AM @ Studebaker (Manhatanville), Room 465

Informal Organizing Committee notes

Your participation in Bargaining is very much appreciated! Join us in person or on our Slack channel to share your opinion/thoughts/concerns.

Take home message – We have given what we belive is a reasonable economic offer, containing the priorities of postdocs/ARSs. The head of HR is reminding us that we are still very far apart on many items (mostly the economics). They basically suggest we bring in a mediator. It is disappointing that Admin does not want to consider our economic package unless we close everything else (which includes Professional Development and Intellectual Property).

Bargaining starts at 11:40am. 

We are proposing a package including appointments, benefits, childcare, compensation, as well as the effective date and duration of the contract. 

  • We are proposing concessions on compensation and contract duration if and only if the whole package is agreed on, i.e. if we get a housing stipend, childcare and other benefits that we will address in detail throughout the session.

The university listened to our introduction of the changes proposed in the document and have requested we go over all the articles to clarify what is tentatively agreed on, which we did. 

CHECK OUR TRACKER! In green all the articles which have been Tentatively agree.

  • In total 6 articles have been TA’ed so far (7,9,11,24, 25,26), 
  • 14 articles will remain unchanged from the last contract (1,8,10,13,14,15,16,17,18,20,21,22,23,27)
  • and 9 articles are still open.

At 12:30pm the university request a caucus which lasts until 1:22pm.

The Administration says that we’re so far apart on issues that we “should engage a mediator as soon as possible”. They proceed to ask some questions about our package:

ART. 2: APPOINTMENTS: (page 2)

  • Section 3 – relates to who is inclduded and protected by the union and the union contract

They asked about the logic behind moving from the 2022 Faculty Handbook to our current proposal in the package: “[The Faculty Handbook]  in effect at the inception of the first Agreement”.

We got down to how that article represents who is inside our union or not, without much of an agreement either way we move on to the section on fellows.

  • At the end of Section 3 on Fellows – we had agreed to have a meeting with the potential Fellow before final arrangements are done. In the current offer CU agree to pay $3,000 extra to the fellows to compensate for the loss of benefits. We increased that amount to $5,000.

We want the meeting to explain to the postdoc what is the difference in terms of benefits and taxation to move from full employment to the independent contractor status in which Fellows are set up by default. Not only to inform them but more importantly to let them choose their employment status if the agency allows.

CU Admin said that there might be a way for us to agree on this meeting, but never pre-employment (which in practice will keep all researchers who come to Columbia directly with a Fellowship with lower benefits and higer taxation).


They ask for clarifications/examples of the yearly increase + experience based increases. Sounds like they understood it

At  2:47 PM we caucus for a lunch break. At 3:50 PM we got back in session

The head of HR is reminding us that we are still very far apart on many items (mostly the economics). They basically suggest we bring in a mediator to bring the momentum back, because they want to get these things done quickly: “there are things that from a University perspective we cannot agree to, and I’m sure that there are things that from a union perspective you cannot agree to. […] a mediator can do things differently, and give us a different perspective”

We clarified that we agree that we are far apart, but we have been making progress. We are saying that both parties have been coming with counter proposals, it is disappointing that the university is trying to corner us into bringing a mediator to discuss economics just because we need time to make decisions internally. They do not want to consider our economic package unless we come with a full package that includes Professional Development and Intellectual Property which are the only ones still missing because they are close to their final offer.

At 4:13 PM the session ends.


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