We began our bargaining session with the University on Tuesday, December 15 by following up on our previous inquiry on the allocation of CARES Act relief funds—the University did not have an update on this but indicated that they would provide one at the next session. We also accepted the University’s offer to walk through their financial situation in greater detail in a separate meeting.

We reached a tentative agreement on Discipline and Discharge during this session. We also discussed International Student Workers Rights, Nondiscrimination and Harassment, Management and Academic Rights, and Professional Development:

  • Discipline and Discharge: We reached a tentative agreement on this article. This represents a huge win as Columbia agreed to language that clearly separates academic standing from job performance in the provision for just cause.

  • International Student Workers Rights: After substantive discussion, the University passed an updated proposal that would allow for student workers to access the grievance procedure if they are unreasonably denied paid time off in order to attend visa and immigration proceedings. While this is great progress, we maintain that other sections of the article, which provide employment and payment provisions for international student workers who are unable to return to the United States, must also be subject to the grievance procedure.

  • Nondiscrimination and Harassment: The University has proposed a side letter that would establish a University-wide Working Group with representatives from various constituencies, including GWC-UAW, to make recommendations on how the University can address complaints around power-based harassment. While this is a step in the right direction, the side letter does not provide sufficient protections. We maintain our position that our grievance and arbitration procedure is what would provide real recourse through a neutral arbitrator for discrimination and harassment and could encourage reporting.

  • Management and Academic Rights: Columbia passed a revised proposal and we continued to have substantive discussions about what should and should not fall under management rights of the University.

  • Professional Development: Towards the end of the session, the University passed an amended proposal which encourages schools to allocate resources and provide professional development opportunities across departments for doctoral students. While we think this is a step in the right direction, it still does not include explicit levels of funding for professional development opportunities.

Our final bargaining session of the year is scheduled for Monday, December 21, 1:30-5:00 PM.  Please fill out this RSVP form if you would like to attend the session.