Columbia University Workers Say No to Unionbusting

February 2, 2018

1199ers who work at Columbia University in New York City joined hundreds of the college’s graduate student teaching assistants Feb. 1 for a rally to demand the university recognize the grad students’ year-old vote for representation by the United Auto Workers (UAW). The teaching assistants voted overwhelmingly for representation by the UAW in the face Columbia’s freighted anti-union campaign. Since then, the wealthy, Ivy League institution has used a host of legal maneuvers to avoid bargaining with the teaching assistants, most recently publicly announcing its refusal to recognize the election or the teachers’ status as workers. 1199 Delegate Eduardo Gil, a Library Assistant at Columbia Law School, says the university under the administration of President Lee Bollinger is definitely sharpening its anti-union claws. “I was in some negotiations last week,” he noted. “And they were the most acrimonious I have seen here in all my years.” UAW Bargaining Committee member Rosalie Ray, a Ph.D. candidate in urban planning, says it’s more vital than ever that workers of every classification stand together in the face of management intimidation. “One of the things that’s so clear is Columbia hiding behind Trump and his NLRB,” she said. “It’s important for all of us to remember that unions and organizing are a key part of the resistance. When we win it won’t just be against Bollinger, but against President Trump, his NLRB and his whole agenda.”