We met Columbia’s team for a brief bargaining session the evening of April 5th before we embark with mediation in future sessions. The University wanted to address the backlog of work withheld during the strike. They plan to implement a process by which those who choose to make up work from the strike period can receive full back-pay. The system they implement will be another ‘attestation’ in the second half of April where workers may indicate the efforts they made in a short-answer form. It is up to each individual how best to make-up the back-log to complete the semester. Back-pay will be in full for all lost wages during the strike. The choice to attest to making-up work and receive back-pay is optional.
We argued for making the back-pay system universal, as there may be a number of people this system wouldn’t adequately support, and pointed out workers who might be unable to work additional time for back-pay, such as care-givers. The University decided to go ahead with it anyway.
As for mediation, we proposed using the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services to proceed with negotiations, and the University has agreed. We have settled on an arbitrator, Andrea Cancer, who had a long relationship with the SEIU, including time as a shop steward, before her role at FCMS. The first mediation session is scheduled for this Thursday, April 8, 3:30 PM ET. RSVP here if you would like to attend.