The Bargaining Committee is continuing to communicate student worker concerns around COVID-19 to Columbia’s bargaining team. Here is what we heard at the table this week:
Responses on Summer Appointments, Pay, and Online Teaching Costs
- Potential delays in addressing the financial worries of student workers are tied to the financial impact rippling across all levels of the University.
- Columbia is working to provide the same number of teaching appointments over the summer without pay cuts.
- TAs requiring additional online teaching equipment can reach out to their department administrators who will assist in obtaining such equipment from the University’s information technology group if possible. If you have trouble in this area and would like assistance, please send us an email.
- We asked about the Special Health Care Needs Fund that has been available in the past for students needing special medical care.At the moment, this is not able to offset COVID-19 related insurance costs, but Columbia’s team said that they would look into it.
Responses to our COVID-19 Impact Survey underscored healthcare concerns as a high priority. We will continue to engage Columbia’s team about implementing measures that mitigate medical costs and protect the health of student workers. In the meantime, please check our website for weekly updates on all federal, state, and university communications about healthcare resources.
This week, we received counters on Vacation, Health and Safety, Job Posting, and Workweek from Columbia and passed our own counters on Union Access and Rights, International Student Workers Rights, Job Posting, and Appointments; and responded to their Health and Safety proposal.
The University started the session with the description of the financial impact the pandemic is having on the institution. It is clear that this crisis is affecting every level of our society. However, it does not explain Columbia’s intransigence when it comes to non-economic issues like implementing a clear grievance and arbitration procedure, protections of just cause for discipline and discharge, and provisions to establish real recourse for cases of harassment and discrimination.
We are working very hard with the University to reach a strong contract in a timely manner, but they will have to do more and faster. Their team owes us responses on a variety of topics, including Grievance and Arbitration, Discipline and Discharge, and Non-Discrimination and Harassment. We hope to engage them on the outstanding articles in the upcoming weeks.
Our next bargaining sessions are scheduled for April 22 9:30 AM-1PM and April 29 1:30-5 PM. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to join the sessions over zoom.