Click here to read “Postdocs and the Price of Prestige at Columbia University”

In our latest bargaining session on Friday, we exchanged a larger number of proposals back and forth than has been typical in recent sessions. While we did not sign any new tentative agreements, we feel we made some important progress on several topics and hope this is a sign that the administration team is ready to start moving more quickly and more seriously toward reaching a fair overall agreement by our April 6 deadline. If Columbia is serious about reaching a fair agreement by that time, the administration team will need to accelerate the pace and quality of bargaining even more as we move forward. See below for more detail on or latest session with Columbia.

We were also encouraged this week to see more postdocs and associate researchers get involved and speak out, including the great Spectator piece above. In recent weeks, researchers have signed open letters, met with and explained our priorities to campus administrators, and have communicated our concerns to elected leaders in Congress. Given the rapidly approaching deadline and large number of outstanding issues, including our core demands for economic improvements, we encourage all postdocs and associate researchers to continue preparing for further actions.

More on our February 7 bargaining session.  

We exchanged proposals on Discipline and Discharge, Health and Safety, Intellectual Property, Job Posting, Union Security, Appointments and Reappointments, Holidays, Vacation, and Leaves. We also shared with Columbia another example of language that describes power-based harassment or “bullying” in an effort to continue our discussion about including meaningful protections against such abusive behavior in our contract.

Highlights from this session include the following.

On Discipline and Discharge, the University proposed language for the first time committing them to work with the Union to expedite the grievance process in cases where termination of an appointment might jeopardize the visa status of an international researcher. This is an important step by the administration team, but we expect to have further discussion on this topic and the article more generally.

We moved closer to agreement on Health and Safety, Intellectual Property, and Job Posting. On Health and Safety, we continue to work through a number of disagreements, including clarifying our rights and protections when we are required to perform work that could present an imminent threat to our safety..

We also moved closer to the University’s position overall on a package proposal involving Appointments and Reappointments, Holidays, Vacation and Leaves. In a package proposal such as this one, we propose more moderate provisions in certain areas on the condition that the University agree to certain priority issues like improved access to fully-paid paid family leave. Paid leave is a priority issue that we believe would enhance equity and inclusion in the Columbia research community – but so far the administration team has not proposed any improvement on this topic.

We have another session this Wednesday, February 12 from 9:30-1:00pm in Studebaker 469. If you would like to attend, please let us know.

Join us for a bargaining update town hall at the Lamont-Doherty Campus.

Our bargaining committee will be hosting a Town Hall at the Lamont Campus on Friday, February 21st, 1:30-2:30pm in the Gary C. Comer Geochemistry Building, Seminar Room First Floor. Please RSVP here if you would like to join us.


CPW-UAW Bargaining Committee