Columbia Workers Set Strike Deadline of April 24


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Columbia Workers Set Strike Deadline of April 24

If Columbia administrators do not agree to bargain by 10 am on April 24, graduate workers across the campus will immediately go on strike 

New York City – After an overwhelming 93% strike authorization vote last week, Columbia grad workers have set a strike deadline. In a letter to President Lee Bollinger, workers demanded that the university declare its intention to begin bargaining by 10 am on April 24. If the university continues to defy both labor law and the democratic voice of its workers, and does not agree to bargain by that deadline, graduate workers will go on strike immediately, and continue the strike through the end of classes on April 30.

“After three years of majority support for a grad worker union at Columbia, a 72% election victory and certification of our union by the National Labor Relations Board, university administrators are still refusing to bargain with us,” said Olga Brudastova, a teaching assistant at Columbia’s civil engineering and engineering mechanics department. “So today we are announcing that if the University continues to defy its legal obligation to come to the table, we will go on strike at 10 am on April 24.”

The April 24 strike deadline lays the groundwork for a showdown between the Academic 1% of deans and administrators and the 99% of younger academic workers, most of whom earn less than $30,000 a year. Many of Columbia’s senior administrators, including President Lee Bollinger, boast sterling liberal credentials. But when it comes to supporting low-income workers looking to unionize on their campus, they have tried every trick in the book, including asking the Trump administration to throw out the results of a federally-certified election, to avoid bargaining. More than 200 elected officials, including Senators Bernie Sanders and Chuck Schumer, along with Reps. Jerry Nadler and Grace Meng, faculty and alums, have all asked Columbia to do the right thing, but they continue to refuse.

“This is only the beginning,” said Ian Bradley-Perrin, a Ph.D. candidate in public health. “If Columbia continues to refuse to bargain with us, they should expect us to strike again. We love our work and our students, but we need the security of a contract to move forward. We won a democratic election that was certified by the federal government, and the law is clear. It’s time for Columbia to come to the table.”

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