NOTICE OF VACANCY ELECTION – UNION BARGAINING COMMITTEE (1 position)
Angela Woodall (Communications) has been elected by acclamation for the professional/other schools (School of the Arts, Journalism, SIPA, Business, Professional Studies, GSAPP, Social Work, and Law, etc) jurisdiction.
An election for the GWC-UAW Bargaining Committee (1 position) will take place on:
Election Date: Thursday, October 19, 2017
Voting Times and Locations
- Morningside: 10am-6pm, in Nous Café/Graduate Student Center (Philosophy Hall)
- CUMC: 10am-6pm, in Hammer Health Sciences Building Room LL1-104
- Lamont: 10am-2pm, in Geosciences entrance
The following are the candidates. Please find their statements below.
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Humanities and Social Sciences
Voting in the election shall be at large and shall not be restricted by jurisdiction. Voters, regardless of department, shall be entitled to vote for up to one (1) candidate.
Voter Eligibility: Eligible voters have signed a GWC-UAW authorization card who are Columbia graduate and undergraduate students who are currently employed by the university, have been employed by the university in the past, or whose program includes a degree requirement to be employed by the university in one of the categories outlined by the NLRB decision (i.e. graduate and undergraduate Teaching Assistants, Teaching Fellows, Preceptors, Course Assistants, Readers, Graders, Graduate Research Assistants [including those on Training Grants], and All Departmental Research Assistants). If you meet the above criteria and have not signed up for the Union previously, you may do so at the polls in order to vote.
Vote Count: Ballots will be counted after the polls close at Brownies Cafe (basement of Avery Hall).
A run-off election, if necessary, will be held on Wednesday, October 25, from 10am to 6pm. The locations will be announced if necessary.
☰ Election Information
I am a sixth year doctoral candidate in History, and an organizer with the Graduate Workers of Columbia. As a member of the GWC Bargaining Committee, I would bring to the table my experience organizing around workers’ issues across several departments (History, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Applied Mathematics & Applied Physics), as well as negotiating with Columbia University administrators as a member of the International Students’ Working Group. As a historian and an international student in USA at this political moment, I believe that our union is a means to our collective empowerment, as graduate workers and as members of a wider society. Having a union contract is a vital part of the movement to build a more equal, safe and inclusive working environment and a democratic political system. As long as Columbia’s workers have to go to court to settle sexual harassment complaints, or wait months to fly to their home country to get dental treatment that is affordable, this institution is failing us as educators and employers. With a union contract, we can begin to address that. I believe in a bargaining process that is transparent, efficient and responsible to the membership. I commit to fight particularly for a contract that protects Columbia’s DACA, international students and workers of colour in an increasingly racist, xenophobic climate, and empowers its LGBTQIA members and survivors of sexual assault in a hetero-patriarchal world. Beyond the bargaining table I am committed to keep organizing on the most pressing issues before us.
I am a 3rd-year PhD student in the Political Science department. In my research I use computational-linguistic tools to study how changes in labor law affect the benefits and restrictions workers are able to attain in their union contracts. As a complement to this “top-down” approach, however, I also have several years of on-the-ground organizing experience, starting in the fast food sector as part of SEIU Local 1021’s successful Fight for $15 campaign in Alameda County, CA, and continuing in academia as an organizer with GWC-UAW 2110 here at Columbia.
I have therefore seen, from multiple angles, the ways in which unions with attentive representatives can address the most pressing issues faced by workers, and win! Because my primary task will be to reflect your concerns at the bargaining table, I will work to make the process as open as possible, hopefully in the form of open bargaining meetings if Columbia eventually decides to negotiate.
Outside of open bargaining, I will fight to ensure Columbia provides support for all students affected by the rise of white supremacy in the era of Trump. In particular, I pledge to center Muslim students, women of color, and queer/trans students in my work. Concretely, this entails forcing Columbia to play an active role in addressing racial and sexual harassment, to provide robust childcare support, to take responsibility for climate change and other issues of global concern via its endowment, and to address the displacement of Harlem residents which accompanied the recent Manhattanville expansion.
I am a fourth-year PhD student in the English department as well as a University Writing instructor and have been an active member of the Graduate Workers of Columbia since beginning my program. I became involved with the union out of the deep belief that organizing and collective action are the best—if not the only— means by which instructors, researchers, employees, and students can fight back against the corporate university and its increasingly misguided priorities. I am running for the bargaining committee to ensure that our union continues to build power democratically and uses that power to support individual workers and win the improvements and protections we all deserve.
My name is Matt Mazewski and I am currently a third year Ph.D. student in Economics, where I have worked as a TA for three semesters and a grader for two. I have been involved in organizing within my department since last December’s union election and would be honored to serve on the GWC-UAW Local 2110 bargaining committee.
While I would certainly do my best to effectively advocate for the priorities of all graduate workers, there are several issues that have been particularly important in motivating my own support for the union:
1. Stipends and rent – When increases to both were announced during my first year, I was astonished to hear from older students that many could not remember stipends ever growing at least as quickly as rent. We need to keep up pressure on the administration to make sure that progress in this area continues.
2. Taxes – Columbia’s failure to withhold taxes from stipends for most student workers not only makes filing returns more complicated, but can cause other problems as well, such as difficulty documenting income when applying for credit.
3. Late pay – Late pay is a systemic issue. While I have mercifully avoided one of the worst horror stories myself, I have experienced a wait of over six months for a reimbursement from my department and understand that something must be done.
Please do not hesitate to contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be happy to hear from you and grateful to have your vote!
Research and Teaching Assistant
Olga Brudastova is an MS/PhD student in Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, who has served as a Fellow, an RA and a TA. Her involvement with the campaign started in Spring 2014, and ever since then she has been an organizer, a spokesperson, and now a member of the Bargaining Committee. She is very proud to represent her colleagues at the bargaining table, especially as an international student and a woman worker in STEM.
Noura Farra is a fifth-year PhD student in the Computer Science department, where she is a RA and studies language processing. She is an international student and also a member of the GWC-International Student Working Group. She continues to be committed to a strong union contract which recognizes and guarantees our rights as academic workers.
A.L. Hu is a 3rd-year Master of Architecture student worker at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, where they have served as an RA, TA, as well as an advocate for their cohort and LGBTQ students. As a member of the Bargaining Committee, A.L. is committed to representing all voices of the bargaining unit and fighting for a strong contract that asserts our power and value as workers.
Trevor Hull is a 3rd year graduate worker in the Chemistry department. As a STEM Research assistant he was excited to see the union active in calling for more scientific funding, and imagined how it could improve his health (both mental and physical), and safety in lab. He was first motivated to get involved in the Union after seeing the administrations blatant attempts to prevent graduate workers from gaining more power for themselves, he can’t wait to get a strong first contract for all graduate workers!
Kate Jackson is a 5th year Ph.D. candidate in the political science department, writing a dissertation on corporate political rights and working as both a research and teaching assistant. She hopes to use her background in corporate and commercial law to frame a powerful contract on behalf of Columbia’s dedicated and valuable student workers.
Rosalie Ray is a second-year PhD student in the Urban Planning program in GSAPP. She has worked as both a TA and RA. She got involved in the union after seeing how little influence graduate workers had on campus compared to her experience as a master’s student and graduate worker at UCLA, home of UAW Local 2865.
Justin Steinfeld is a 5th year MD/PhD candidate in the Integrated Program at Columbia. Due to concerns of health hazards in his workplace, he became involved in GWC last year while trying to convince CUMC to make meaningful renovations to the William Black Building. After learning of countless stories of other unaddressed grievances from graduate students around the University, he realized that only a union contract would create change and became a part of the bargaining committee to address all the concerns of the his colleagues.
Takaya Uchida is a PhD student majoring in Physical Oceanography. He would like to make the Columbia campus a fair and just workplace. By improving our working conditions, he believes it will also make Columbia a more academically competitive and vibrant community by helping bring in more bright-minded academics.
Sophie Wilkowske is a Teaching Fellow in American Studies and a senior in Columbia College, where she studies economic and intellectual history. She became involved with GWC by organizing undergraduate workers around the unionization election. She believes graduate worker unionization is essential to the future of academia and is excited to win a strong contract from Columbia.
Questions, concerns, or thoughts? Contact the bargaining committee at email@example.com
Upcoming events with the bargaining commmittee:
- 4/14 April General Meeting (Morningside), Avery 114 @ 4-6pm
- 4/17 April General Meeting (CUMC), Black 523 @ 6-7pm
- 4/20 Engineering Office Hours, Mudd 641 @ 10am-12pm
- 4/24 Engineering Office Hours, Carleton Lounge @ 3-5pm
- 4/25 SIPA Town hall, IAB 324 @ 1-2pm,
- 4/26 Lamont Town hall @ 12-1pm
- 4/26 STEM Town hall, Northwest Corner Building 7th FL conference room @ 4-6pm
- 4/26 Undergrad and Masters Town Hall @ 6-7pm
Latest updates from the bargaining committee
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