Dear student workers,

First, the good news.

  • We are close to tentative agreement on Holidays, Workload, and Intellectual Property

Now, the frustrating news.

  • Columbia maintains their regressive position that grievances alleging discrimination or harassment by the University shall not be subject to the contract’s grievance procedure, and be exclusively processed through the EOAA. This rules out the option of third-party neutral arbitration of discrimination or harassment claims for those who feel it is necessary to achieve real recourse. For more background, read this op-ed by our student allies!
  • Columbia maintains their position that only doctoral student workers on salaried appointments should have the rights, protections, and benefits of the contract we are bargaining.
  • Columbia continues to refuse to pay for student workers, who have a demonstrated concern, to receive on-demand testing for toxic exposures.
  • Columbia wants to maintain unilateral decision-making power over aspects of our working lives “in any way related to the academic mission of the university.” But, as academic teachers and researchers, exactly what aspects of our working conditions do not relate in some way to Columbia’s academic mission?
  • In general, Columbia thinks if our work is part of our education, then it should be exclusively the university’s right to decide the terms and conditions of our employment. But of course, that we are learning on the job doesn’t make our work any less protected by labor law and deserving of fair compensation and protections by a contract.

Part of the bargaining session on March 16 [2:30PM/Mudd 524] will be dedicated to a broad discussion of our Recognition Article—who gets to be covered by the contract—and the University’s ‘academic purview’—what labor rights, interests, and issues should be in the contract (see here for our position on these questions). If you have time to spare, join us at the session! Feel free to email us <> if you have something you’d like to say yourself, or would like us to say, to Columbia’s bargaining team.

As a reminder, our strike authorization vote opens today. We encourage you to vote YES to demonstrate the University team that we are ready to use our collective power to achieve the contract we deserve. Our power to strike got us to the bargaining table and it will help us get a strong first contract.

Poll locations:

  • Morningside: 10am to 4pm, Nous Cafe//Graduate Student Center in Philosophy Hall.
  • CUMC: 12pm to 2pm and 5pm to 7pm, Hammer Health Sciences Building Room LL1-104.
  • Lamont: 11am to 2pm (Monday 3/2, Wednesday 3/4, and Friday 3/6 only), Graduate Student Lounge in the Cafeteria Building.
  • Manhattanville: 12pm to 2pm, Dear Mama Coffee (611 W 129th Street) at the Jerome L Greene Science Center. Please note that there is an entrance off the street.  

If you cannot make it to campus for the vote (i.e.: attending a conference, conducting research outside of the city, etc.), you can request an absentee ballot here. The Union will contact you with further instructions about how to cast your vote.

In struggle,

GWC-UAW Bargaining Committee