During our strike in April, over 1,500 graduate workers withdrew their labor and marched on the picket lines, and when the strike ended, we knew what our next steps would be. We continued organizing over the summer and vowed to escalate in the fall, prepared to strike again until Columbia respects our labor, our rights as workers, and our democratic election, and agrees to negotiate a contract with us. Despite nine private universities agreeing to bargain with their graduate workers–including contracts won at Brandeis, Tufts, and New York University and contract negotiations underway at Harvard University and The New School–Columbia continues to stand on the wrong side of history.
We have sent President Bollinger a letter demanding that the university declare its intention to bargain by 5:00 pm on November 30. If the university continues to defy both labor law and the democratic voice of its workers and does not agree to bargain by that date, we will go on strike on December 4.
Department leaders will continue to reach out to their colleagues over the next month to develop more detailed plans, and we will host a general body meeting to answer questions about the strike this Thursday (tomorrow), November 1, at 12:30 pm (Philosophy Hall, Room 716) and at 6:30 pm (International Affairs Building, Room 707).
Please let us know if you need childcare or any other accommodation in order to attend, by responding to this email.
We urge Columbia to begin bargaining and avert a strike—we came to graduate school because we care about the work that we do, and we intend to continue that work with all the security a union contract provides. For that very reason, we are prepared to strike if Columbia makes such an action necessary.
In order to be fully prepared for this action, we encourage you to:
- Read our strike FAQ.
- Look at our suggestions for talking to students about the strike.
- Look at our suggestions for talking to faculty about the strike.
- Plan to join the pickets throughout December! In order to have strong, visible picket lines, it will be important to spend as close as possible to 20 hours on the line in lieu of working. More information on how to sign up for picketing shifts—and other opportunities to participate—will come soon.