We have an update on the progress of the hearings at the National Labor Relations Board. As we all know, the road to meaningful historical change is long and hard, and thanks to the NYU Administration’s deep pockets for anti-union litigation, our battle for recognition-something we take to be a basic human right-continues to be drawn out. Initially, our lawyers moved swiftly and hoped to wrap up the hearings in January, but the union-busting team of corporate attorneys from the firm Proskauer & Rose has done everything imaginable to delay the hearings. Of course, they’ve executed the predictable tactics: an endless parade of boring administrative witnesses and an unnecessarily lengthy “surrebuttal.” But they haven’t stopped there-they’ve really gone the distance with numerous cancellations, complaints about working through cold weather, ice, and snow, whining about the onerous demands placed on them to produce subpoenaed data concerning our teaching labor, and even threatening to unnecessarily recall several of our own members who courageously testified as to the nature of our work as graduate students.
But the delays only reveal their underlying trepidation about what lies in the future-for they have not weakened GSOC’s case for recognition as a collective bargaining unit under the National Labor Relations Act. Victory is still on its way! As it stands, the very last days of hearings are currently scheduled for the first few days in March, after which post-hearings briefs will be submitted and the Regional Director review the record and issue a decision. Assuming we are victorious, NYU will likely appeal it to the full National Labor Relations Board in DC for a final decision. It’s hard to say exactly how long this will take (this is unfortunately out of our control). But in the meantime it’s crucial to keep organizing so that we can work under a contract that NYU graduate students first won in 2001, and is ours to win back.
And let’s remember-as a decision at the federal level-this would change the course of labor history; graduate students who teach, work in labs, grade, upload pdfs, make copies, and conduct research at private universities across the United States would be entitled to union representation just like graduate workers in public universities.
The hearings are open to the public, so you are welcome to come down and spend some time downtown meeting our hard-working legal team. The address of the NLRB New York Regional Office is: 26 Federal Plaza, Room 3614 (36th floor) New York, NY 10278-0104. Feel free to come anytime between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. on the following days Friday, February 18th; Monday, February 28th, Tuesday March 1st, and Wednesday, March 2nd. If you are planning to come, do give us a call at the UAW office to check-in, for hearing dates are often rescheduled.
Our strength and numbers are looking good, but we still have to really grow our organizing committee to keep our numbers strong going into an election. Now is the time to get involved! If you have any questions, please call the UAW offices at 212-529-2580 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Incidentally-we’re also seeking to develop our visual presence on campus this spring, so if you have any particular design or art talent for screen printing t-shirts, hoodies, or making pins, please get in touch! We’d love to collaborate with you!)