Columbia won't bargain with assistants despite union vote

AP News
Posted: Jan 30, 2018 6:11 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Columbia University says it will not bargain with the graduate student teaching and research assistants who voted over a year ago to unionize.

Columbia Provost John Coatsworth said Tuesday that the university will instead ask a federal appeals court to rule on whether student assistants are workers with the right to collective bargaining.

Coatsworth says the relationship of graduate students to faculty "must not be reduced to ordinary terms of employment."

Columbia graduate students voted in December 2016 to join a union affiliated with the United Auto Workers.

The vote came after the National Labor Relations Board ruled that graduate students at private universities had a right to unionize.

UAW regional director Julie Kushner says Columbia's refusal to negotiate "shows total and continued disrespect for the democratic will of these workers."