Columbia University faculty in support of Local 2110
To President Bollinger, Executive Vice President Kasdin, and Provost Coatsworth, The undersigned members of the Columbia faculty are extremely concerned about the apparent impasse in negotiations between the administration and Local 2110, representing about 700 support staff including non-faculty employees of individual departments as well as workers in the Bursar’s and Registrar’s offices and other sites essential to the functioning of the University. As you know the contract with the union expired earlier this year. We understand that in the name of equity and shared sacrifice, the University’s representatives in these negotiations are demanding substantial reductions in employee benefits, including the cost and coverage of health care as well as pension, tuition and other benefits. Columbia is a wealthy institution, which has had notable success lately in raising money. We emphatically reject the idea that whatever need may exist for financial belt-tightening justifies demanding a reduction in benefits on the part of the lowest-paid members of the University community. We also object to the fact that while officers have received modest pay increases in recent years, the University is offering the support staff no pay increase at all. Given the enormous disparity in salaries between support staff and officers, the University’s definition of equity is strange and untenable. Some of us have lived through strikes and other labor disputes here in past years, and know that such events create long-term damage to the sense of common purpose that should animate a great university. We urge you to do everything in your power to come to an agreement with the union, first and foremost by withdrawing demands for a reduction in the benefits enjoyed by Columbia’s workers.