Columbia U Appeals Feb. Pro-Unionization Ruling

By By U Wire

By U Wire

NEW YORK?Columbia University appealed the Feb. 11 ruling by the regional director of the National Labor Relations Board that teaching and research assistants at Columbia are employees of the university who are entitled to union representation.

In a Wednesday press release, the university requested that the board review and reverse the New York University decision that set a precedent for teacher assistant and research assistant unionization at private universities “as an unwarranted reversal of nearly 30 years of board precedent.”

Furthermore, the university said that even if the board does not overturn the NYU decision, the precedent should not hold at Columbia, because the two schools have “significant differences.”

“The Regional Director erred in finding Columbia’s undergraduates to be employees and to include them in a bargaining unit with graduate students with whom they have no community of interest,” the press release read.

Despite the appeal process, the union election will still be held at Columbia beginning on March 13. Members of the union bargaining unit are eligible to vote on the question of whether the UAW Local 2110 will represent Columbia’s graduate and undergraduate teaching assistants and research assistants in contract negotiations with the university.

The ballot boxes will be sealed after voting is concluded until a decision on the university’s appeal is made. If the decision is ruled in favor of the university, the election will not be valid. If the board overturns the university’s appeal and upholds the regional director’s decision, then the votes will be counted.

Earlier this week, Graduate Student Employees United, in affiliation with the UAW, announced that the group would not appeal the board’s ruling, which also expands the size of the potential bargaining unit to include teacher assistants and research assistants on the Morningside and Health Sciences campuses and the Lamont-Doherty observatories. The UAW had advocated a bargaining unit composed of only Morningside instructors.