Welcome back! We hope you had a great winter break.
Our petition is moving forward at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and initial hearings are scheduled for February 9. The administration has not officially responded to our request for recognition, but they have begun legal actions to delay the case. In the meantime, we are keeping pressure on the administration to respect our democratic decision to unionize. We will resist any attempt to deny us due process under the National Labor Relations Act.
Unfortunately, Columbia has hired the infamous anti-union law firm Proskauer Rose to convince the NLRB to dismiss our case on the grounds that we are not workers, only students. Of course we are students, but we are also workers. We provide services vital to the day-to-day functioning of the university. In short, Columbia works because we work.
President Bollinger recently said that workers’ rights for TAs and RAs are unnecessary because our relationship with the University is based on a “scholarly temperament,” which transcends the need for a contract between employer and employee.
We believe that scholars, whatever their temperament, are people who work for a living.
As the chief executive of a multi-billion-dollar institution, President Bollinger is entitled to believe that collective bargaining is unnecessary. But President Bollinger is just one person, and a strong majority of graduate workers made a democratic choice to form the Graduate Workers of Columbia University.
We call on the administration to acknowledge the resounding support for our union and to work with us–and not actively against us–to improve our working conditions.
We’ll let you know as soon as we receive new information about the status of our NLRB petition. In the meantime, get involved! Come to our next town hall on Friday, February 13, from 4-6pm, location TBD. Join us at our weekly meetings, or write us an e-mail to find out how you can organize in your department. Also be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!