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We share your view that it is time for the parties to get back to the underlying contract negotiations. As you know, the University has been negotiating a new contract with Local 100 since April 2012. There has been no response to the proposal made by the University to the Local’s negotiating team approximately three weeks ago, and negotiations have seemingly come to a halt. This is in contrast to our experience over the last decade, as the University and its unionized workers have successfully worked through challenging negotiations to reach mutually acceptable collective bargaining agreements. We are disappointed by the absence of engaged serious negotiations by Local 100 a full year after the collective bargaining agreement expired (itself an unprecedented occurrence in the last decade at Columbia). The University stands ready to negotiate an agreement, and a federal mediator stands ready to help facilitate that process. The continuing misinformation circulating about the most recent collective bargaining agreement that governs Local 100 workers at Faculty House is unfortunate. To clarify the record: (1) The University’s current proposal includes lump sum payments, a wage increase, other improvements, and most importantly continued health insurance paid in full for all of the employees, part-time and full-time. (2) Service Charge: The claim that Faculty House collects and keeps 'service charges' or gratuities that belong to the Local 100 employees, and that catering clients believe are going to the staff, is false. The catering service contracts make it explicitly clear that the service charge is not a gratuity and is meant to defray the overhead costs of running Faculty House. (3) Summer Unemployment: New York State law states that certain categories of workers, which include Faculty House employees, are not eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. For that reason, the University pays a summer unemployment stipend for the period of summer-time layoffs. (4) Utilization of Part-Time Workers: The Union has also claimed that the University is not responsive to its concerns about the hours worked by part-time employees. In fact, the University has made multiple proposals to address the concerns that some of the parttime employees work additional hours. Let me turn to the reasons why only employees subject to the collective bargaining agreement, their professional negotiators, and the University are present during negotiating sessions. This practice, which has characterized prior collective bargaining negotiations for at least a decade, continues because the presence of outside observers makes reaching an agreement much harder. In this vein, we agree with your sentiment that it is time for the parties to negotiate an agreement. Sincerely, Scott J. Wright Vice President, Student Services cc: Lee C. Bollinger, President