TLDR: #CUonStrike Provost Katznelson put forth a new proposal to “inject neutrality into the EOAA process.” This is a huge win as a result of our continuous pressure (such as the faculty letter, which is still collecting signatures so please share with your faculty). Read below for a summary of the session and details on the hardship fund. Then read this comparison of our bargaining positions and overall bargaining progress.

Bargaining Update

Provost Katznelson attended the session yesterday, March 23, to offer a new side letter regarding changes to the appeal process. The sideletter would allow for EOAA decisions to be appealed to an independent Appellate Officer, who would be from outside the university and with significant experience in higher education, employment law, and training in EOAA. These Officers would be selected by an Advisory Committee that would include GWC Union representation. This move is in response to a successful faculty sign-on letter and our strike efforts.

This is a step in the right direction and partially addresses our demand for neutrality. However, the University’s proposal is still lacking in several regards:

  • The administration would retain control over selection of panel as the Union is given only the advisory capacity on this matter;

  • The scope of appeals would be much too limited as compared to access to the grievance and arbitration procedure;

  • The EOAA process does not address power based intimidation or bullying;

  • The EOAA process limits ability of union representatives to effectively advocate for workers during the appeal (unlike during arbitration), e.g., request relevant information, subpoena necessary witnesses, formulate a remedy;

  • The EOAA process has many other areas that need improvement if Columbia wants to create meaningful change in addressing harassment and discrimination, e.g., restoring the right of complainants to record their interviews, allowing complainants to collect evidence that could be used during appeals, notifying the complainants of the sanctions implemented as the result of the investigation, regardless of the type of the complaint.

We will continue to bargain this week in hopes of coming to an agreement quickly. We encourage everyone to continue to demonstrate our power by signing up for in-person picketing here and virtual picketing here (zoom registration).

Our next bargaining session is scheduled for Thursday, March 26, 1:30-5 PM ET. RSVP using this link if you would like to attend via Zoom.

Information about UAW Strike Assistance and Hardship Fund

Workers on strike can apply for the UAW Strike Fund for $275 a week. In order to qualify, workers must spend 10 or more hours a week at the picket line, either virtual or in-person (we encourage workers to join the picket line for 20 hours or more per week). Workers who require an exemption due to time zone differences or other circumstances can apply for an exemption using either of the picket sign-up links (virtual or in-person). Both U.S. citizens/residents and international student workers are eligible to apply for and receive the UAW Strike Fund if they have a U.S. social security number.

Additionally, undergraduate students supportive of our strike have started a hardship fund, separate from the UAW Strike Fund. This need-based fund will be distributed by a Hardship Fund Committee of GWC. In order to better gauge the financial concerns of our unit, we are sending a preliminary Hardship Fund Sign Up Form. The form will help us direct our fundraising efforts and better understand the concerns of our unit. While we are aware that it may be difficult to anticipate docked pay before the next pay period, we encourage you to fill out this form if docked pay will present a financial hardship for you.