Columbia University and representatives of the United Auto Workers agreed in November 2018 on principles to guide negotiations toward collective bargaining agreements on wages, hours, and other working conditions for associate research scientists and scholars as well as postdoc researchers.

The University maintains two websites with information regarding the negotiations: this one, with information on CPW-UAW, the union for associate research scientists/scholars and postdocs, and another regarding GWC-UAW, the union for doctoral student research and teaching assistants.

Our approach

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Productive negotiations are characterized by transparency and by both parties’ good-faith commitment to the time consuming and complicated work required to reach an initial collective bargaining agreement.

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Bargaining Committees

The University’s respective bargaining committees stand ready to engage the process in this manner and to reach agreement as expeditiously as possible.

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Our principal goal is to ensure that every Columbia postdoc and associate research scientist can achieve the highest levels.

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Framework Agreement

The Framework Agreement makes clear that academic judgments in service of our educational and research mission shall remain the prerogative of the University and that bargaining subjects will be determined with this in mind.

Latest Bargaining Sessions With CPW-UAW

March 27, 2020

On March 27, 2020, The University and the Union reached a tentative
agreement on Vacation.

March 23, 2020

Representatives of the University attended the thirty-first bargaining session with the union committee that represents Postdocs and ARSs. The bargaining session was held via video conference.

March 18, 2020

Representatives of the University attended the thirtieth bargaining session with the union committee that represents Postdocs and ARSs. The bargaining session was held telephonically.

March 9, 2020

Representatives of the University attended the twenty-ninth bargaining session with the union committee that represents Postdocs and ARSs.

March 5, 2020

Representatives of the University attended the twenty-eighth bargaining session with the union committee that represents Postdocs and ARSs.

Active Negotiations With CPW-UAW


The Union proposes that initial and reappointments for ARSs and postdocs shall be for a minimum of one year. The University proposes that consistent with Columbia Statutes, ARSs and postdocs may be appointed to renewable terms of no longer than one year.


The Union proposes establishing minimum annual compensation rates of $61,000 for all postdocs and $74,000 for all ARSs, as well as initial 5 percent increases for all employees already above the minimum. The University proposes, effective July 1, 2020, minimum compensation of $61,400 for ARSs (from the current rate of $57,708), $55,600 for Postdoc Research Scientists/Scholars (from the current rate of $51,376), and $53,960 for Postdoctoral Fellows (from the current rate of 50,004), and increases of no less than two and one-half percent (2.5%) for salaries at or above these minimums.


The University proposes that grievances alleging discrimination on the basis of any EOAA policy provision may be subject to expedited arbitration after the completion of University EOAA procedures. The Union proposes expedited arbitration for grievances alleging discrimination, harassment, or bullying in place of University EOAA procedures.

Leaves of Absence

The Union proposes that all ARSs and postdocs shall receive at least twelve weeks of paid parental, family, personal medical, mental health, and disability leave.  Under current University policy, full-time ARSs and Postdoctoral Research Scientists/Scholars are entitled to medical leaves with full salary continuation for disabling illness or injury and for the birth of a child (typically 6-8 weeks). The University proposes that effective January 1, 2021, up to four (4) weeks of paid parental leave at full salary may be granted.

Union Dues

The Union proposes that all ARSs and postdocs shall be required as a condition of employment to either join the Union and pay dues or pay agency fees, and that ARSs and postdocs who fail to pay dues or agency fees shall be terminated. The University proposes that ARSs and postdocs appointed to a position covered by the Collective Bargaining Agreement may elect to join the Union and pay dues.

Insurance Benefits

The Union proposes that the University pay all premiums for insurance of all postdocs and ARSs under a plan that provides coverage that is at least equivalent to the 100 Plan for medical, vision, and dental coverage, and additional coverage enhancements including lower out-of-pocket maximums, co-pays, and drug costs. The University’s position is that Postdoctoral Research Scientists/Scholars and ARSs are eligible for the same medical, vision, drug, and dental insurance plan options available to other full-time salaried University Officers, with employee contributions based on salary.