Next week, we will be holding town halls to discuss the current status of our campaign to win improvements in our first union contract. Come to learn about the bargaining process, progress we have made so far, and what it will take to overcome Columbia’s continued resistance to some of our core proposals.
22nd Bargaining Session Update:
In our latest bargaining session this week, we discussed Health and Safety, Intellectual Property, Leaves of Absence, and Non-Discrimination. As Columbia continues its overall evaluation of our economic proposals on topics like salaries and health benefits, which we gave to them several months ago, we expect to continue to bargain over our proposals on workplace rights and protections. Highlights from this paticular session revolve mostly around the topic of non-discrimination and our overall goal of negotiating improvements that enhance equity and inclusion at Columbia.
Columbia’s team informed us that, rather than consider our bargaining proposal on non-discrimination, they wanted to hear us explain our concerns regarding Columbia’s current policies on and approach to addressing discrimination and harassment at the University. The administration team further told us they intend to establish a campus-wide committee to review and recommend changes to the current non-discrimination policies and procedures. They proposed that this committee could include representatives from our Union and would be established some time next year. While we appreciate Columbia acknowledging that its policies could be improved, and are confident that the petition earlier this year from a majority of researchers helped bring them to that conclusion, we also do not see the establishment of a committee as a substitute for codifying specific rights in our union contract. While discussing these concerns with the administration, we again drew their attention to one component of our proposal that is completely missing in their EOAA policy – protections against power-based harassment or “bullying.”
The administration team acknowledged more clearly than before that bullying is a problem, can inhibit mentorship and the advancement of science, and should be examined more thoroughly. However, they continued to resist putting any protections against bullying into our collective bargaining agreement. Given that the University has never included the concept of bullying in its non-discrimination policies, we know we will continue to have to fight both at the bargaining table and outside the bargaining room in order to make progress on this increasingly important topic for the research community.
We also gave Columbia a new Health and Safety proposal and discussed some aspects of our respective positions on Intellectual Property. Finally, we reminded them about the importance of our proposal for paid parental leave, another component of our efforts to enhance gender equity at Columbia and an increasingly common benefit at comparable research institutions. They said they consider the proposal to have an economic cost to the University budget and so do not plan to respond until they finish evaluating and responding to all of our economic proposals.
We will keep you updated as always and let us know if you have any questions.
Our next bargaining session is on December 19th, 1pm-4pm, Studebaker Building. Please RSVP if you would like to attend.
CPW-UAW Bargaining Committee