Yesterday, March 3rd, we had our second bargaining session for our Contract with Columbia University’s Administration!!💥💥💥

Here’s a recap of what happened:

12 pm, Gathering! 

CPW set up tables in front of the Hammer building. Postdocs/ARSs came to socialize, and get t-shirts, pins and flyers.

1pm, Bargaining table formation! 

25 Postdocs/ARSs followed the BC inside the building and stood behind our Bargaining Team during the bargaining session.

35 of us in Hammer Building (CUIMC) prepared for our second bargaining session. 25 postdocs in the room standing behind our Bargaining Team of 10.

1:15 pm – 4:30 pm, negotiation time! 🗣️💫 

Context: we prepared a detailed package that was reviewed and approved by members. Sessions of the negotiations will be focused on different parts of the package. This session, we negotiated about Housing, Appointments and Reappointments, and International Employees. 

Columbia admin STILL has not provided their offer on Compensation!!! They do not want to address ANY economic issues early in the process. This attitude is stalling the conversation on many of the articles. 

Our BC wants to start the discussion ASAP on the topics Postdocs/ARSs care about. During this session, the following articles were addressed:

  • Housing – 
    • Summary of CU admin: they declined to consider housing issues for our contract, saying they are not mandated to do so by law.
    • CU Admin said: “We can talk about it all you want, but you are not going to get anything.” 
    • HOWEVER, given that struggling with housing majorly affects our working conditions, we argued that the law permits it, and we will push for affordable housing in our contract.
  • Appointments and reappointments  –
    • We clearly outlined the struggle of not being appointed/reappointed on time. Because of the administration’s incompetence, we receive no paychecks, our email and ID cards get deactivated, for up to several months! 
    • We demanded that Fellows are considered employees. The CU admin pushed back, saying their tax counsel recommends keeping Fellows contractors. 
    • HOWEVER, the NIH recommends that Fellows have full employee status. Moreover, Fellows are full employees in many other Universities, even at Columbia, in some cases. 
  • International Employees – 
    • We explained that having longer lasting visas and correctly applied tax treaties would help us and save us time, as it could lessen renewal fees and reduce mandatory travel requirements, amongst other benefits. 
    • The CU admin replied that they do not want to include this in the contract, and also, that they believe that they already take excellent care of internationals!


We took one caucus (break) to discuss how to move forward. 

Direct input from members: we need to force CU admin to make an offer on 

Compensation. Right after the caucus, our Bargaining team 

demanded a compensation package from CU Administration ASAP. The administration continued to stall.

What’s next?

  • Next scheduled bargaining session is on Tuesday, May 9, 10am at Studebaker, with another following on May 11th in Hammer. Join the sessions! Join the Organizing Committee!
  • Since these bargaining sessions are very close to each other, we will have one single debrief session on them after the second session. Watch out for the follow up email! And join our slack for live updates and commentary during the bargaining sessions.


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Read the full report from the 2nd bargaining session!

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