In light of the new working conditions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, academic workers continue to organize together to build a university that is respectful and supportive of all workers and students. While recognizing the commitment Columbia has already shown to members of its community, we call on the Columbia administration to work with the university community to address our most pressing needs. Below is a summary of our understanding of commitments that Columbia has made and open issues the university has yet to address clearly. 

As the situation continues to unfold we will continue to monitor developments and work as a union to best advocate for our members and broader community, if we missed anything or if you have any questions/comments please email us at:

Based on our discussions in bargaining and other communications from the administration, our understanding of Columbia commitments so far on COVID-19-related grad worker concerns is below.

  • Columbia has communicated it intends to honor funding commitments (fellowship, TF, RA, etc) made to PhD students, through the end of Spring Semester – as well for those who receive a summer stipend
  • Columbia has communicated it intends to pay all hourly student workers for originally expected hours through the end of Spring Semester
  • Columbia has communicated that it does not intend to cancel summer teaching offers at this time and are planning for all online teaching to be done online
  • Columbia has communicated it has started offering Fall 2020 teaching appointments to grad workers
  • Columbia has communicated only essential employees would have access to enter labs 
  • Columbia has communicated that Aetna will provide full cost coverage for COVID-19 testing; you may request new referrals through phone and other virtual visits
  • Columbia has communicated we may cancel our lease agreements with them without any penalty; no subletting will be allowed to non-Columbia affiliates 

Concerns that have not been clearly addressed at this point

  • 1-year extension of funding to match 1-year tenure clock extension
  • Increased workload related to online teaching and research
  • Reimbursement of costs for Columbia-sponsored travel that was cancelled due to the pandemic
  • Reimbursement of costs for required technology, equipment for online teaching or research
  • Expansion and increase of summer funding for those who are not able to leave the city, sublet their apartments, or have lost summer grants due to the pandemic. 
  • An emergency fund to help the most vulnerable in our campus community.