Our bargaining session on Friday, December 11 began with the University team explaining the COVID-19 pandemic’s negative effects on Columbia’s finances. They indicated that Columbia’s financial concerns will affect their bargaining positions on economic articles. They also offered to provide more in-depth information on this topic. The University also expressed interest in reaching a full agreement under the supervision of the Interim Provost, Ira Katznelson.
Later in the session, we asked the University administration for more information about their COVID-19 vaccination plans, in light of the recent FDA recommendation for emergency use authorization. The University recommended as many people as possible attend townhalls planned for December 14 and 15.
We also inquired about allocation of the CARES Act relief funds—the University bargaining team committed to discussing it with their colleagues and getting back to us in the upcoming sessions.
The session resulted in tentative agreements on Tax Assistance and Transportation. We also discussed Discipline and Discharge, Management Rights, and Professional Development.
Tax Assistance: We reached a tentative agreement on this article after Columbia passed a revised counter that memorialized access to tax assistance resources for international student workers.
Transportation: Columbia passed a proposal allowing eligible workers in the unit (those receiving W-2’s) to participate in the University’s Transit/Parking Reimbursement Program and memorializing student workers’ access to the University shuttle system. We found that this reaches the goals we set on this topic and confirmed a tentative agreement on this article.
Discipline and Discharge: We passed a modified proposal in an effort to reach a mutually agreeable conclusion on Discipline and Discharge. Our proposal reconciled some differences in language and adopted language from the Columbia Postdoctoral Workers-UAW Local 4100 (CPW) contract to further protect international bargaining unit members in cases of discharge. Columbia passed back a written counter that we plan to respond to at the next session.
Management Rights: We passed an updated proposal which reflects the progress we have made on other articles, including Appointments and Workload. We added new language mirroring CPW’s Management Rights article. We had some substantive discussion about what should be covered under management rights. We hope to continue productive discussion on this article in the next session.
Professional Development: The University passed their first written proposal onProfessional Development. Though we are glad to make progress with this article, we found it lacking, as it does not include explicit funding for professional development opportunities, merely including language encouraging departments to contribute to the effort. We hope to make further progress in future sessions.
We look forward to our next bargaining session on Tuesday, December 15. Please register to attend via Zoom here.
Our next General Body Meetings are scheduled for
Wednesday, December 16, 7-8 PM EST (registration link);
Friday, December 18, 9-10 AM EST (registration link).
These will be our last General Body Meetings this semester. The bargaining committee will provide an update on negotiations and answer your questions about bargaining and organizing. We hope you can join us!