CCSC Supports Student Unionization Efforts, Creates Hereditary Titles
Written by Nadra Rahman
CCSC gets down to business, but is still riding high from that Homecoming win. Football-averse Bwogger Nadra Rahman is here with the scoop, including the latest updates on the GWC unionization saga.
The meeting began with a rousing round of applause, honoring the Lions’ implausible, gratifying victory in their Homecoming game this weekend. After the “5-0” chants quieted down, President Nathan Rosin directed members’ attention to the main point on the agenda: discussing a potential statement of support for the Graduate Workers of Columbia, who have fought an uphill battle for the past year trying to gain recognition from the Columbia administration.
Let There Be Light…
But first: does CCSC have the power to bestow hereditary titles upon its own members, or indeed, anyone? 2020 VP James Ritchie certainly thought so, introducing to the general body a “Resolution to Rename CCSC 2018 Representative Lord Joshua Hyeamang to Officially Be a Hereditary Lord of Columbia College” (in full below). To provide some context, Hyeamang is not only part of the 2018 Council, but is also a valued member of the football team, serving as the 2017 team captain on the defensive line. The resolution noted the historic terribleness of our team, “the jealous students at other schools jealous of [us],” the fact that “Representative Hyeamang regularly parts the opposition team with the might of a true Columbia lion to create space for his teammates to win the game,” and furthermore, faithfully conveyed two Biblical verses. Ultimately, it was a stirring shitpost, both a tribute to an unlikely afternoon at Baker and a power move reminiscent of Makansi-era shenanigans.
Though it was not unanimous, the resolution passed. To celebrate, Rosin presented Lord Lord Joshua Hyeamang with a certificate and a gaudy, plastic gold crown. Cookies were passed around. This is the expression of Columbia school spirit.
Supporting Student Workers
Last winter, graduate and undergraduate teaching and research assistants voted to unionize by a nearly 1,000 vote margin, electing to be represented by the Graduate Workers of Columbia (GWC-UAW Local 2110). Since then, Columbia has stalled in its negotiations with the group, appealing the election results to the National Labor Relations Board (to no avail), and hiring anti-labor law firm Proskauer Rose. Last night, CCSC debuted a draft statement (see below) that established solidarity with GWC, outlined the administration’s offenses, and urged PrezBo and the Board of Trustees to “recognize the union and begin bargains in good faith.”
2019 Rep Sophie Petros provided an introduction to the topic, speaking to Columbia’s attempt to “delegitimize the vote.” According to her, part of the administration’s efforts includes “just waiting for the Trump administration to come through”—that is, waiting for the appointment of pro-business, anti-labor members of the National Labor Review Board (NLRB) so that the University could break off negotiations without repercussions.
At this point, Rosin read aloud a statement that head been sent to him by the Office of the Provost on the topic:
Even as political winds shift over the years and the view of the NLRB changes, the University has taken a single, unchanging position: We believe that the relationship between our graduate students and Columbia faculty and departments is primarily academic in nature, and not the same as the relationship between employer and employee. The daily activities and the advisor-advisee relationships involved in scholarly training define an experience very different from that of the typical workplace. Graduate students come to this institution to acquire the knowledge and expertise essential to becoming future teachers and scholars. Involving a non-academic third-party in this training poses a substantial and perhaps unavoidable risk to the University’s core function of producing world class scholars.
None of this lessens our commitment to addressing stipend and quality-of-life concerns. We have established a productive dialogue with the Graduate School Advisory Council (GSAC) and with other student organizations resulting in a steady stream of enhancements for Ph.D. as well as MA students. The University will continue on this path not only because it is right, but also because it helps us attract the very best students in the world.
In response, Petros argued that academic work was still work, referring to the hours of grading and teaching done by student workers; she also appealed to the notion that well-compensated, fairly-treated teaching assistants would be better for our own learning. No one seemed to disagree, and conversation quickly moved to motioning for a vote. The body voted to approve the statement, with potential for changes in language.
2021 Rep Ramsay Eyre was one of the members who had a qualm with the language. The sentence in question originally read “…Columbia has spent the better part of a year filing objections, deferring to the anti-labor rhetoric of our presidential administration and hiring the anti-labor law firm Proskauer & Rose.” Eyre felt that the final clause of the sentence was superfluous, and was doubtful as to whether CCSC could credibly pass judgement on Proskauer Rose’s anti-labor record (with as much certainty as it could on the administration’s actions). 2018 Rep Matt Neky was joined by others when he said specificity was important in conveying the scope of the issue to a layperson, and still others pointed out that Proskauer Rose’s anti-labor record is well-established fact; Academic Affairs Rep Dafne Murillo said it was right on their Wikipedia page. After this discussion, Eyre withdrew his motion to strike the final clause.
Rosin was confused by the part of the sentence that read, “…deferring to the anti-labor rhetoric of our presidential administration…,” unsure as to what that was referring to. Others agreed, noting that most students would be unaware of the motive underpinning Columbia’s stalling tactics. Petros then amended the sentence to read, instead, “…delaying negotiations in anticipation of a more pro-business National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) under the new presidential administration….” After this small change, the general body voted to approve the new language.
You can see the statement in its entirety below.
CCSC Statement of Support for GWC
As representatives of the Columbia College community, Columbia College Student Council (CCSC) supports the Graduate Workers of Columbia (GWC-UAW Local 2110), their mission, and their call for recognition from the Columbia administration. We affirm that Columbia’s graduate and undergraduate student workers have a right to livable wages, clear working expectations, quality benefits, timely pay and fair and consistent employment policies.
It is particularly important for our body to speak out on this issue for nearly every Columbia College student is in courses TA’ed by student assistants represented by the GWC and many are student workers themselves. We understand that working conditions are learning conditions. It is imperative that the administration provide fair and equitable working conditions, for all Columbia College students deserve quality education.
Where the union election last winter was decisive, with unionization winning by a nearly 1,000 vote margin, Columbia has spent the better part of a year filing objections,delaying negotiations in anticipation of a more pro-business National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) under the new presidential administration, and hiring the anti-labor law firm Proskauer Rose. Even after the regional NLRB recommended dismissing these objections, Columbia has continued to appeal to a higher court, furthering its attempts to stall negotiating with GWC-UAW.
In our present climate, we call on Columbia to respect the democratic decision of research and teaching assistants to unionize and make ardent strides toward increasing support for all workers under the University’s employment. Current students, alumni, elected officials, community and labor leaders have called on Columbia to stop attempting to delegitimize the union vote, its delay tactics and commence contract negotiations. We join them in this mission and urge President Bollinger and the Board of Trustees to recognize the union and begin bargains in good faith.
Resolution to Rename CCSC 2018 Representative Lord Joshua Hyeamang to Officially be a Hereditary Lord of Columbia College
WHEREAS The Columbia University in the City of New York football team have historically struggled in their athletic endeavors,
WHEREAS The aforementioned football team has been the longstanding subject of ridicule amongst jealous students at other schools jealous of all the opportunities Columbia University in the City of New York has to offer its students,
WHEREAS Columbia have been subject to defeat by the Penn football team every year since 1997,
WHEREAS Columbia football has their first winning season of the 21st century,
RECOGNIZING THAT CCSC has amongst us a captain, leader, and legend of the battle field of Baker Athletics Complex Lord Joshua Hyeamang, also a representative of Columbia College Class of 2018,
WHEREAS The Lord once requested “Let there be light”,
RECOGNIZING THAT Representative Hyeamang has been a shining beacon of light on the football field for Columbia this season,
WHEREAS The Lord once requested “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water”,
RECOGNIZING THAT Representative Hyeamang regularly parts the opposition team with the might of a true Columbia lion to create space for his teammates to win the game,
WHEREAS Representative Hyeamang is an object of fear to any player who has to line up against him, he is also one of the most loving and beloved member of the Columbia community,
LET IT BE RESOLVED THAT For the rest of the CCSC 2017/2018 term, Representative Hyeamang shall hereby be referred to in all official capacities as Lord Lord Joshua Hyeamang.
- Giving Day is this Wednesday, October 18. Stop by the Columbia College-specific table on the Lerner ramps, from 2 to 3 pm, to write thank you notes to donors and possibly get a chance to decide where $1,754 go.
- Class of 2019: The class farm share is launching this Sunday.
- USenate: Check your mailboxes this week: the Quality of Life survey is launching this Wednesday.
- International Students: Rep Sim Mander met with the Office of Multicultural Affairs to discuss revamping ISOP to “attract the right types of students.” Mander also discussed the issue of visa extensions with an ESC rep.
- Inclusion and Equity: Automatic doors might soon be installed between Hartley and Wallach, bringing a bit of the 21st century into the gloomy faux-tunnel (a great spot for crying!).
- Finance: JCCC funded four groups this week, including the CU Food Bank. The Capital Investment Fund, which is geared towards student groups that need funds for long-term capital investments (Resheff provided the example of an athletic team needing helmets), is going live today. Finally, the student group-specific survey for the Open Student Groups project is available here.
- Communications: A CCSC-specific graphic designer was appointed.
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