On Thursday May 2, we delivered our healthcare petition with more than 1000 signatures to Dean Lauren Benton of GSAS to ask her to advocate on behalf of our healthcare demands.
While a majority of RAs and TAs would prefer to address health benefits through collective bargaining, we wanted to voice our collective concerns to administrators before next year’s benefits are determined. Thanks to all the examples and comments generated through our recent healthcare campaign, we conveyed through personal stories just how devastating some of the cuts have been for graduate employees at NYU and how they undermine the accessibility of NYU as a graduate institution. The Deans seemed legitimately concerned, as well as surprised, when we told them how precarious our health benefits had become, especially in regards to affordability of care for children and spouses/partners.
Although Dean Benton could give no firm commitments about the design of our healthcare plan for next year, she reiterated several times that she would advocate for the best possible healthcare package for graduate students. By the time we finished, Dean Benton also acknowledged that the university could do better on some of these issues. We appreciate Dean Benton’s candor and offer of advocacy, but it is clear we have more work to do, because it became evident that the ultimate decisions on these matters rest in the hands of higher-ranking administrators who do not necessarily see our benefits as a budget priority.
We have a few other Deans meetings in the near future and will keep you posted, but let’s not stop there. If you have not done so, please sign the healthcare petition now. Stay tuned for other ways you can help continue to send a strong message to NYU to prioritize quality, affordable healthcare for all graduate employees and our families.
If you’d like to get more involved in the campaign, send us an email. And don’t forget to like our facebook page.
Your colleagues in GSOC/UAW
Matt Canfield, Anthropology
Peiyang Chen, Chemistry
Patrick Cooper, Physics
Lily Defriend, Anthropology
Brady Fletcher, Cinema Studies
Kathrina LaPorta, French
Darach Miller, Biology
Kaitlin Noss, Social and Cultural Analysis
Varuni Prabhakar, Biology
Alex Rubinsteyn, Computer Science