CURA Collective Letter to President Lee C. Bollinger and the Trustees

Editor's note:

Please disregard the date below. The following is the text of the letter CURA Collective sent to President Lee C. Bollinger and the Columbia University Board of Trustees on February 13, 2023.

March 28, 2023

Dear President Bollinger and the Columbia University Board of Trustees,

We are the Columbia University Resident Adviser (CURA) Collective, composed of a supermajority of the 14 7 Resident Advisers (RAs) of Residential Life at Columbia. We formed in May, 2022 to fight for better pay and workplace democracy for all RAs. In response to our collective action since then, RAs receiving full financial aid were provided a $12,000 raise in July 2022 and all RAs were provided a $1,000 raise in December 2022.

We demand that Columbia University recognize our union of student employees through a card-check agreement-whereby an agreed-upon third party will verify that a majority of student workers have agreed to unionize-and negotiate a contract with us in good faith. We are forming this union for just compensation, workplace democracy, equitable work expectations, and our own empowerment as workers in such a contract.

As it stands, the RA position can be changed without the input of RAs. While Residential Life's reception of RA input this past year has led to improvements in our position, there is nothing stopping a unilateral reversal of that progress. As the student workers who support residents through crises and make residential life at Columbia possible, we demand an equal seat at the decision-making table to negotiate our compensation and working conditions. We believe that our democratic input will better the conditions of both Resident Advisers and all undergraduates, as reflected by the improvements that have already been made to RA. compensation because of our advocacy.

By recognizing our union voluntarily, Columbia University would set a precedent of valuing its student workers. It would also demonstrate a commitment to enabling democratic input from student workers to improve the RA working conditions and Undergraduate Student Life policies that affect all undergraduates living on campus. Forming this union is not intended to disrupt peaceful relationships in the workplace, but rather to foster an even more productive relationship with Columbia's administration.

We await a response from you by 11 :59 PM EST on February 22nd, 2023. We look forward to your recognition of our union, to a robust collective bargaining process, and to working with the Columbia administration to better serve our community. Respond to us at [email protected].

Respectfully submitted,

The CURA Collective