With the first day of strike set to November 1st, you or your colleagues may be wondering how visa status impacts the ability to go on strike.

The good news is that there are some resources and answers available through the Strike F.A.Q. that was built using the experience of other union locals that have faced these same questions. Below are some questions that have come up before and answers – could you share them with your colleagues?

Do I have the legal right to participate in a strike?

Yes. It is unlawful under US Federal law to fire or discipline workers for participating in a lawful strike. This protection also applies to international and undocumented postdocs and ARSs. Ultimately, our greatest protection is robust mass participation: there is strength in numbers.

Am I allowed to strike if I am an international worker?

Yes, international and undocumented workers have the same rights as domestic workers under the law to participate in union activities, including strikes.

For more information, please see this International and Immigrant Worker FAQ written by our allies at UAW 5810 and translated into Spanish, Chinese, and Korean. Please note as well, it includes a Memo from UAW’s Legal Counsel.

What makes a strike effective?

Postdocs and ARSs perform the majority of research at the university. When postdocs and ARSs withhold our labor, Columbia will be forced to correct its unlawful behavior or cease to function. The more postdocs and ARSs who participate, the more collective power we will have.

Mass participation on picket lines will also create a crisis for Columbia and increase pressure to respond to our demands. When hundreds of workers demonstrate our solidarity publicly while withholding our labor, labor movement allies and legislators with influence over the University will add their weight behind us to compel Columbia to bargain in good faith.


If you have any unanswered questions, please contact this email address ASAP. In the meantime, this Strike Planning Worksheet will help you and your labmates to work together on how to stop work and start picket duties on November 1st, the first day of Striking.

Your colleagues will need your help in running a successful strike – and the Bargaining Committee will continue to negotiate for a fair contract before and during the strike, so that we can win the contract we need as soon as possible.

Read the Contract Demands Here

Not a member yet? You’ll need to be to qualify for strike benefits!

In solidarity,

Your Friendly Neighborhood Bargaining & Organizing Committees.

In solidarity,

Your Friendly Neighborhood Bargaining & Organizing Committees.


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