IHE notes that the deal was the product of years of negotiations. In 2016, the US National Labor Relations Board ruled in a case brought by Columbia students that student-workers at private universities have the right to unionize. Since then, student-workers there have been negotiating a contract with Columbia, but the two have disagreed over who should be represented by the union as well as contract terms, IHE says.
But now, they have reached a deal that includes key union demands such as third-party arbitration, IHE reports. The new contract includes not only independent arbitration, but also transition funding for students whose relationship with their academic advisor is marked by discriminatory or other inappropriate behavior as well as retroactive pay increases and 75 percent coverage of dental and vision insurance premiums.
"It has been a really, really long road," Lilian Coie, a doctoral student and member of the Student Workers of Columbia's bargaining committee, tells the New York Times. "Even though the agreement isn't perfect, we're very happy with it."