We Won! Clerical and Cafeteria Workers at Columbia University’s Morningside campus overwhelmingly ratify 3-year contract including 9% wage increases plus retro pay

September 4, 2019


After negotiating throughout the summer months with an employer who was proposing givebacks on the 1199SEIU Training and Upgrading Fund and 1199SEIU Child Care Fund, the 450 clerical and cafeteria members at Columbia University’s Morningside campus have won 3% pay increases every year for the life of their new contract.

Management initially refused to back-date the increases, but when members packed the negotiations and demonstrated their power, the University relented.

The new contract also includes an increase to $220 per week for cafeteria and dining staff furloughed over the summer months, regardless of years of service.

Audrey Ross has worked as a Bibliographic Assistant at Columbia University’s Butler Library for 40 years and this is the last contract she will negotiate before her retirement. Everyone on the negotiating committee recognized her long year’s of service to the bargaining unit.

Having been an 1199SEIU delegate since 1997, Ross has seen many contract negotiations in her time. She was pleased to see that the members are still prepared to come in numbers when it counts.

“We’ve had rallies in the past, but to see all those members inside the building making all that noise at negotiations and taking the management lawyer to task was really refreshing. In the end, that is what made the difference!”