Update, March 19

Thank you to everyone who voted in our strike authorization vote. Our strike authorization vote has concluded: out of 1910 valid ballots, 1833 (96%) voted YES, with 77 voting NO.

The last few weeks have been challenging, and we thank everyone for continuing to engage and participate with our union despite this ongoing crisis. We have a clear and decisive mandate from a majority of research and teaching assistants at Columbia, calling on our university to agree to a fair and strong contract. We have waited long enough and now it is more clear than ever that we need strong protections of a collective agreement.

In the weeks to come expect to continue a robust discussion about the best next steps in our campaign for a first contract.

Update, March 9

Thank you to everyone who has turned out for our strike authorization vote. We had a strong first week of voting and we are looking forward to this week. With the university’s announcement that classes were cancelled today and tomorrow, and classes moved online for the rest of week, we are making adjustments to our voting plan.

Although research and all non-classroom activities are continuing as usual, we understand that many are choosing to stay off campus. Therefore, our stationary ballot boxes are cancelled starting tomorrow and we encourage you to use this link to request a remote ballot. We will continue reaching out and working with the moving ballot boxes in the meantime.

We urge all of you to cast your vote and let us know if you would like to help organizing for a strong first contract we all deserve.

Eligible voters will be Columbia graduate and undergraduate students who have signed a GWC-UAW authorization card and are currently employed by the university, previously employed by the university, or expect 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 would be able to do so at the polls in order to vote.



At the end of February will be one year since we began negotiations with the Columbia administration, and while we have agreed on a few things, we are still very far apart on some key issues, including health benefits and real recourse for harassment, discrimination, and bullying. 

While we would prefer to not have to strike in order to win the contract we deserve, we are ready to once again to demonstrate that our work is essential to this university.

As our open letter to President Bollinger, signed by organizers from across departments, below announces, we are now organizing for a strike authorization vote.

Our strike authorization vote starts on Monday, March 2, 2020.

Voting will be held in-person at the following locations as well as through a moving ballot box that can be followed on our twitter account.

  • Morningside: 10am to 4pm, Nous Cafe//Graduate Student Center in Philosophy Hall.
  • CUMC: 12pm to 2pm and 5pm to 7pm, Hammer Health Sciences Building Room LL1-104.
  • Lamont: 11am to 2pm (Monday 3/2, Wednesday 3/4, and Friday 3/6 only), Graduate Student Lounge in the Cafeteria Building.
  • Manhattanville: 12pm to 2pm, Dear Mama Coffee (611 W 129th Street) at the Jerome L Greene Science Center. Please note that there is an entrance off the street.  

If you cannot make it to campus for the vote (ie: attending a conference, conducting research outside of the city, etc.), please let us know here. We will contact you with further instructions on how to cast your vote.

We urge all of you to come out and vote. This is our chance to make our voices heard loud and clear to the administration, and to declare forcefully that unless they agree to a fair contract, they can expect a strike to follow. We must all come together in one voice to urge Columbia to stop delaying, it is time they agree to a fair contract.