Columbia University stalls union victory

From the January-February 2017 issue of News & Letters

New York City—Columbia University, unwilling to accept the results of the August 2016 National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) vote when graduate workers at Columbia voted to affiliate with the UAW, now wants to overturn the election. Columbia said the vote should not be validated, and cited what they called NLRB violations.

WAITING FOR TRUMP TO GUT THE NLRB

Columbia grad students celebrate their NLRB victory while demanding Columbia’s administration honor it. Photo via facebook.com/gwcuaw

Columbia grad students celebrate their NLRB victory while demanding Columbia’s administration honor it. Photo: facebook.com/gwcuaw

This is a move familiar to anyone involved in labor-management disputes. But some of the graduate workers, both research and teaching assistants in GWC-UAW Local 2110, are saying the university is using a delaying action this time to stall until Donald Trump takes office. They hope that the NLRB will be altered to the advantage of management, be that universities or other businesses.

The NLRB in the Columbia case ruled that graduate student workers at private colleges and universities have the right to unionize. It ruled that, given the abuse and trampling of their rights by Columbia, the graduate workers there were within their rights. They voted overwhelmingly to unionize. 

Graduate student workers are afraid that a NLRB appointed by Trump will take away their right to collectively bargain and force them to accept the poorly paid and demeaning work they did previously. But at a protest in mid-December, graduate student workers by the dozens vowed to continue their fight.

—Natalia Spiegel

One thought on “Columbia University stalls union victory

  1. Readers may want to know that the National Labor Relations Board, early in March, upheld the research assistants and teaching assistants workers’ vote to join the Graduate Workers of Columbia-United Auto Workers union.

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