Our next General Body Meeting (GBM) is scheduled for today, Friday, April 2, 3:30-5 PM ET (registration link).
TLDR: After discussions on Non-Discrimination and Harassment and cost estimates, the University offered to agree to mediation in exchange for a pause to the strike. We will consider this offer before responding to the University. More details below.
At our most recent bargaining session yesterday, April 1, neither side passed new proposals. However, we had productive discussions on the University’s proposed EOAA improvements and the cost estimates they promised us during the last session.
Non-Discrimination and Harassment: We engaged the University in a discussion about their EOAA proposal and the specific areas it falls short of arbitration. For example, we raised our concerns that the University would still have undue control over the selection process for the proposed appellate panel; the University responded that they were open to measures that would expand the advisory capacity of the Union. We also discussed our concerns over making the process more transparent, and the University committed to continuing this discussion and returning with a more detailed response in the next sessions. This conversation was helpful in determining ways to further improve the EOAA process, even while we maintain our demand for the same access to neutral arbitration as the Columbia Postdoctoral Workers.
Remaining Economic Proposals: As they indicated on Tuesday, the University shared their cost estimate of the Union’s remaining economic proposals. Walking through their estimates was a productive exercise. We find that we have similar estimates, although there is still some disagreement over whether the costs of COVID-19 funding extensions should be included in this cost proposal.
- Offer for mediation in exchange for a pause to the strike: At the beginning of the session, the University told us that they had a process suggestion to discuss with us. After the day’s discussions, this turned out to be an offer that the University would agree to our prior proposal of entering mediation in exchange for a pause in the strike. When the Union floated mediation two weeks ago, the University did not take to the idea. We see their change of heart on mediation both as an indication of the impact of our strike and as a possible path to a fair contract without further loss of pay to the members of our unit. Mediation can provide a way for both Union and University to speak more frankly to a third party mediator than we would at the bargaining table, enabling us to reach a deal more quickly. The Bargaining Committee is considering this offer carefully, and will discuss the potential paths forward in greater detail at the GBM this afternoon before making a decision.