We are calling for a No Vote against the bargaining framework between Columbia and our union, which would severely weaken our union’s negotiating power and lower our chances of winning a fair and equitable contract with Columbia.
This is the first time in 17 years that Columbia has made any moves to bargain with us, and it is undoubtedly a huge victory. We’ve won the ideological battle! Columbia can no longer deny that we are workers and we have a right to collective bargaining given the tidal wave of campus support that’s been building especially over the last few months.
There are two important problems with the agreement (https://columbiagradunion.org/app/uploads/FrameworkAgreement20181119.pdf):
1. The framework agreement would prevent us from striking until April 6, 2020. This amounts to removing our main weapon that would allow us to bargain for a fair and equitable contract. Columbia wants to bargain with us while our hands are tied behind our backs. We got Columbia to this position by threatening strike action: this agreement would see us throw away that weapon.
Some have argued that this sketchy clause 8 is meaningless, that we could decide Columbia isn't bargaining "in good faith" at any time and pull out of bargaining before April 2020. That is not right.
We've spoken to a number of experienced labor lawyers and to a senior union negotiator with decades of experience who interpret the language of clause 8 to mean that there cannot be a strike before April 2020. If we did go on strike, strikers could be fired and the union could be successfully sued for costs. Columbia would take us to Trump's NLRB and accuse us of breaking the agreement. The language is ambiguous and we will fight over it if this agreement passes, but we'll be putting ourselves in a tough position.
2. These terms of bargaining were negotiated behind our backs in secret by Columbia administrators and top UAW officials. This is not only undemocratic but also sets a negative precedent for other graduate worker unions. Not a single graduate worker or post-doc knew about, let alone participated in, the negotiation of these terms. Even our elected bargaining committee was excluded. That risks setting a dangerous precedent: that Columbia can make decisions about us without us and then bounce us into accepting them at the very last minute.
Columbia has so little respect for us that it refuses even to negotiate the terms of bargaining our contracts with us, its workers. So why should we trust their promises of ‘good faith’ bargaining? Any agreement to bargain that comes attached with a no-strike provision effectively ties our hands during negotiations.
We, the undersigned GWC members, urge our fellow Columbia graduate workers to vote no to Columbia's current bargaining framework: Bollinger's dodgy deal.
We, the undersigned GWC members, ask that following a no vote the bargaining committee should go to Columbia with a counteroffer that deletes the no-strike clause from the bargaining framework. Columbia has now acknowledged it is willing to bargain with us, so we need not take their first offer. We should negotiate for a better one. We are close to the finishing line; we know that Columbia is scared of our strike so let's use that leverage to get a good deal.
See here for a statement from the Solidarity and Social Justice Committee of the Teaching Support Staff Union of Simon Fraser University: https://www.facebook.com/TSSU.ca/photos/a.221558467875450/2169772463054031/?type=3&theater
See here for a statement from Graduate Employees Together - University of Pennsylvania: http://getupgrads.org/solidarity-statement-gwc-cpw/?fbclid=IwAR3Qxm1xzMiYdEmbBHV8ARG033PRIJumegLY99wDov4qbK37Z4Yoq8ZuOjY
See here for a statement from Princeton Graduate Students United: https://twitter.com/princetongsu/status/1067226899762610176?s=21&fbclid=IwAR0Pj1HC-bdXdEIi2g0RfeTrXPZhDvGRQ5kvURQHODYeyv7Ewj1LikpVXrY
See here for a statement from The Autoworker Caravan, a network of UAW members from Local 22 (GM-Detroit), Local 869 (Chrysler-Warren, MI), Local 12 (Jeep-Toledo), Local 551(Ford-Chicago) Local 600 (Ford Dearborn), Local 909 (GM-Detroit), Local 659 (GM-Flint), Local 862 (Ford Louisville,KY), Local 74 (John Deere Ottumwa, IA), Local 2865 in Berkeley: https://www.facebook.com/541051419250808/photos/a.2001819546507314/2067097266646208/?type=3&theater
See here for a statement from SENS-UAW Organizing Committee of New School: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_1Ke_AhZpVa2s652IjUrd0vvpt9I24zHoLU0Jh1aDP0/edit
See here for a statement from five members of the GSOC Bargaining Committee: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1936500829758979&id=125848607490886
See here for a statement from members of the Committee on Rights and Compensation from University of Colorado: https://www.facebook.com/NoStrikeBustingDeal/photos/a.2216977485191038/2218879495000837/?type=3&theater
See here for a statement from the Bargaining Committee of BCF-UAW 2110, the Barnard contingent faculty union: https://www.facebook.com/bcfuaw/posts/943848132468411
See here for a statement from UC Santa Cruz of UAW 2865: https://www.facebook.com/uaw2865santacruz/posts/971594003040385?__tn__=H-R
See here for a statement from NUGW, Northwestern's graduate worker union: https://www.facebook.com/NorthwesternGW/
See here for a statement from GSOC, NYU's graduate worker union: https://makingabetternyu.org/2018/11/20/gsoc-stands-with-gwc-in-their-right-to-bargain-a-fair-contract/
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