Structure of Our Proposals
Proposals: Appointments; Discipline and Discharge; Employee Assistance Program; Employment Files; Grievance and Arbitration; Health and Safety; Holidays; Intellectual Property and Scholarly Misconduct; International Student Workers’ Rights; Job Posting; Leaves of Absence; Non-discrimination and Harassment; Past Practices; Titles and Classifications; Training; Travel; Vacation; Workload; Workspace and Materials.
- These proposals establish workplace rights and conditions of employment and provide a clear procedure for enforcing the collective bargaining agreement.
- Grievance and Arbitration: A mutually agreed process for resolving contract disputes. An important element of the overall agreement as it sets specific timelines for each step of the procedure and prevents the university from dragging it out indefinitely. The last step is neutral legally binding arbitration, which provides for a party outside of Columbia to make the final decision unless resolution was achieved at a prior stage.
- Non-discrimination and Harassment: The issue of lack of real recourse has been historically identified as one of the key driving forces for student workers to seek unionization. This article, together with a clear grievance procedure, can significantly level the playfield and provide more support to complainants of cases of harassment and discrimination. In addition, it can encourage reporting by outlining basic protections and rights of complainants. Columbia not only refuses to have a meaningful discussion on this topic at the table, but also made a regressive proposal withdrawing access to grievance and arbitration for such instances.
- Discipline and Discharge: Another one of very standard provisions in a union contract. “Just cause” language creates a standard for disciplinary actions that eliminates the university’s ability to discipline or discharge workers without legitimate justification. In our case, the difficulty of negotiating this provision is in the dual nature of our relationship with Columbia, where they have full autonomy over academic issues we experience as students. However, this does not mean that this duality can be used to dilute “just cause” and its protections.
- Titles and Classifications: An article that clarifies all job titles in the bargaining unit to assist in any compensation or other disputes.
Proposals: Appointment Guarantee; Compensation and Payroll; Family Friendly Benefits; Fee and Tuition Waivers; Health Benefits; Professional Development; Retirement; Tax Assistance; Transportation.
- These proposals address economic conditions of our employment, like compensation, healthcare, childcare, and other benefits.
Proposals: Recognition; Severability; Successorship; Subcontracting; Union Access and Rights; Union-Management Committee; Union Security.
- Recognition: An article that outlines who is included in and excluded from the union. Columbia uses a blatant anti-worker tactic and maintains its position that only fully funded PhD student workers should be included. Their position denies hundreds of workers benefits, rights, and protections under the contract and potentially creates an opportunity to erode the union further by using less costly labor.
- Union Security: The university proposes “open shop”—a provision that makes sure that not everybody is automatically included in the union. A typical anti-union tactic to limit the union’s resources that are needed for effective operation. No other union on campus has “open shop” and there is no reason that student workers should become an exclusion from this rule.
- Union Access and Rights: This proposal addresses a variety of union rights that are necessary for GWC-UAW to fulfill its obligation as the exclusive bargaining representative. Such rights include information on the composition of the unit, including relevant information; access to workers at their workplaces to discuss union business; paid release time for union stewards to assist their colleagues in navigating the contract and process grievances; access to orientations to provide information about the union from the moment of hire; and more.