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Postdoctoral researchers and associate research scientists at Columbia University voted to form a union affiliated with the United Auto Workers by a 2-to-1 margin, they announced Thursday. Their contract would be the first for postdocs at any private institution. Columbia, which has denied recognition to a UAW-affiliated graduate student union on the grounds that graduate students are not employees, despite a National Labor Relations Board decision saying otherwise, said it had no immediate comment on the postdocs’ vote. The new bargaining unit includes about 2,000 academics.