Thanks to everyone who has filled out the CPW-UAW survey on the impact of COVID-19 in our workplace. The feedback suggests that, overall, researchers and the Columbia administration have moved swiftly to adapt to the rapidly-evolving and unprecedented conditions created by the pandemic. It has been very encouraging, for example, to see how many members of our research community have stepped up to offer various types of help in addressing the crisis. One such response being organized is to support front line healthcare workers with childcare. Please see the bottom of the email if you are in a position to offer support.
We have nevertheless communicated and had a productive initial conversation with the administration about some concerns that have been raised regarding potentially uneven implementation of some of the health and safety protocols. We reiterated that the administration more clearly reaffirm protocols regarding what constitutes essential services, remind supervisors of the right of individual researchers to freely articulate concerns regarding their own health and safety, and to communicate any specific available information regarding potential threats of exposure in areas of the campus community. We expect to have further discussion of these matters. And if you believe you have had expectations placed upon you that endanger health and safety, please contact us immediately.
In other news, we have worked out a schedule to continue negotiations toward our first contract in this new environment. Though bargaining remotely presents new challenges, we have continued to make progress and remain hopeful that we can reach a fair agreement in a timely manner.
In our most recent sessions, we moved closer to agreement on proposals regarding International Researcher Rights, Appointments, Vacation, Grievance and Arbitration, Union Recognition and Union Rights and Access. We still have many issues to resolve, but we have now agreed on a busy schedule of sessions between now and April 7 that we believe improves the opportunity to reach agreement.
More than anything, Columbia needs to demonstrate more willingness to reach agreement on our core outstanding issues. We have made clear that we are willing to make practical compromises in a number of areas if Columbia will agree to reasonable provisions on core provisions like Non-Discrimination, full equity for Postdoctoral Research Fellows, fair and competitive pay increases for all researchers—including ling term employees, and the set of provisions that will enable is to maintain an effective union moving into the future.
Our next session is on Friday. We will report back again after that session.
CHILDCARE FOR FRONTLINE WORKERS
There are current efforts to try and help facilitate childcare (babysitters) for front line healthcare workers at Columbia during this crisis. They are not specifically looking for students/postdocs – anyone in the community is also welcome – though they are hoping to start with people with experience they can back up with a reference.
If anyone is interested, or knows anyone who would be interested, please e-mail Melissa at firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
your name and contact info
a reference and their contact info
your general neighborhood
CPW-UAW Bargaining Committee