On Wednesday, May 22, GSOC/UAW supporters had a great time celebrating the All-University Commencement at Yankee Stadium. We talked with students and parents in the plaza outside the stadium, not only congratulating them , but also distributing flyers with the message that while “NYU is a great place to study, sadly at times it is not a great place to work.” We also gave out over 1,000 balloons printed with the GSOC/UAW insignia and the slogan “NYU WORKS BECAUSE WE DO.”
Unrolling the flyer- folded into a cylinder to resemble a diploma and tied with a festive purple ribbon-gave grads and their families the chance to read about NYU’s recent cuts to our health benefits and the over 1,000 graduate employees who have signed our petition to reverse them and to establish affordable dependent coverage.
Our purple and white balloons were the big hit of the morning.In the hours prior to the ceremony, we handed out our balloons to so many people, so quickly, that demand almost exceeded supply-at one point, dozens of people ended up waiting a few minutes in line to get a balloon while we inflated a new batch. Throughout the morning, hundreds of purple and white balloons with our symbol, slogan, and our web address, makingabetternyu.org, could be seen throughout the vast, crowded plaza and streaming into the iconic stadium.
The thousands of “diplomas” and balloons inside Yankee Stadium while the ceremony was underway served extremely visible notice to President Sexton that we were there and would not let up pressure, all without interfering with the fun of the ceremony-on the contrary, we enhanced it.
Congratulations to everyone in GSOC/UAW for a successful year. Almost 1,300 of us signed a public letter demanding that NYU respect our democratic choice, over 1,000 of us a petition to restore our health care and establish affordable care for our children and spouses, and many of us met with high-level administration officials and forcefully made these points while insisting on our majority mandate for collective bargaining. Our presence at Commencement this week provided yet another reminder that our union is a permanent feature of the NYU community.
In case you have not already signed our petition to restore the benefits cut from graduate employee health insurance in the 2012-13, you can sign the petition here.