New York, NY – As members of the New York City Council Progressive Caucus, we strongly support the Graduate Workers of Columbia-UAW (GWC-UAW) in their strike to win critical rights for graduate staff including adequate pay and benefits.  Sixteen months after graduate workers won a federally-certified union election, Columbia’s refusal to bargain is unacceptable and a violation of federal labor law.

The Columbia administration’s refusal to bargain hinges on denying the critical work of Research Assistants (RAs) and Teaching Assistants (TAs) at the university.  Columbia TAs provide high-level, quality instructional support to thousands of undergraduates, and RAs carry out cutting-edge research projects that enhance our city’s reputation as a hub of innovation and help attract roughly $1 billion in grants and contracts to Columbia that stimulate the local economy.

Columbia’s refusal to recognize these workers’ union rights cuts against the values of New York City, where we respect the democratic rights of workers to organize and bargain, and where thousands of RAs and TAs already engage in collective bargaining at NYU, The New School, CUNY and SUNY.  We as local progressive elected officials strongly urge Columbia’s administration to start bargaining immediately.

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