[AFLCIO] Why NYU Graduate Student Workers Are Fighting for a Voice on the Job

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At New York University (NYU), one of the wealthiest and most expensive schools in America, you’d think access to decent and affordable health care for employees and their dependents would be in reach. Yet teaching and research assistants at NYU are experiencing exorbitant costs for their health plans through the university. Last year the cost of dependent care increased 33%.

This is one of the many reasons why the workers and members of the Graduate Student Organizing Committee-UAW (GSOC-UAW) are asking the university to recognize their right to a union once again and come to the bargaining table.

In their historic first contract, GSOC-UAW negotiated dramatic improvements, such as a 38% increase in the minimum pay rate and fully paid health insurance premiums for the first time. Based on a negative National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision by former President George W. Bush appointees, NYU refused to bargain a second contract. Since then, as evidenced by the health care cuts last year, conditions are more precarious. While the teaching and research assistants have kept their union going and filed for a new election in 2010, they have been campaigning in recent months to get the NYU administration to respect their right to a union immediately and stop waiting for the NLRB, since it is not necessary to do so.

Original publication can be found here, by Jackie Tortora.