We are pleased to announce that in response to the organizing and advocacy of parents in our Union during the ongoing pandemic-related childcare crisis, Columbia will offer employees with children under the age of 13 an additional crisis care benefit of up to 10 days between March 15th and April 16th.

This program provides reimbursement of up to $100/day for up to 10 days for out of pocket childcare costs incurred as a result of a pandemic-related breakdown of your normal childcare. You can find more details about the program here: https://worklife.columbia.edu/backupcare

Through our parents working group, researchers worked tirelessly while simultaneously juggling their own parenting and work responsibilities to call for emergency childcare support. In the face of the university’s initial resistance, we mobilized and organized, including a petition with hundreds of signatures, writing an op-ed, and making numerous calls to Interim Provost Katznelson’s office, rapidly filling his voicemail box to demonstrate the power of our collective voice to push for positive change at the university. 

The NIH has also extended a new childcare subsidy, announced last week, to students and postdoc NRSA fellowship holders of $2500 per budget period. These changes are in part the result of years of effort by academic workers in the UAW, representing over 60,000 university employees, to win greater recognition of the burdens faced by parents in academia. Through our union we can influence substantive change for all researchers. If you have any questions about how to make use of this subsidy or Columbia’s benefit, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

These successful initiatives show the importance of having a strong union. When we speak together, Columbia responds. This benefit is a huge step in the right direction, but still falls short of what is needed in this moment. Reaching majority membership will allow us to push even more for what we need.  Click here to get involved in our membership drive or join a working group to fight for what’s important to you!

Join us at our next membership meeting (Monday, March 15th at 6pm) to hear more about our initiatives to fight for better working conditions at Columbia and beyond. 

CPW-UAW Local 4100 Executive Board

P.S. – To stay informed about our union, check out columbiapostdocunion.org, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook