Update and Mobilization Planning; Healthcare Rebates

The Spring 2014 semester has ended without a fair contract offer from the NYU Administration. While there was significant progress in negotiations on important non-economic rights, the University’s initial and only economic counter-proposal is far short of anything that our Bargaining Committee can recommend. NYU’s offer, made at the end of the semester, is lacking on affordable health care, family benefits, wage increases, stipend guarantees, etc., all identified by bargaining unit members as priorities for a contract. There is no excuse for NYU’s delay. Our contract proposals are reasonable, affordable and consistent with academic policy.

The University can agree at any time to a fair contract; and we are ready to bargain if necessary this summer. However, we must also be ready to mobilize for action in the fall if the Administration does not make a fair offer. Bringing together our large, diverse and decentralized bargaining unit is challenging but we have the support to do so successfully. The issues at stake are important not only for us as graduate employees but will make NYU a more democratic institution. If the Administration won’t agree to what’s fair, we must take our case to the broader campus community and general public. Here’s a framework for what can be done:

  • Reach out to every one of the 50+ departments at the Washington Square and Poly campuses to activate our network of pro-union organizers to mobilize members in their own departments.  In many departments, leaders have already stepped up.
  • Reach out to faculty for support. We have an excellent base among many faculty members, who recently initiated their own petition urging NYU to settle a fair contract with us.
  • Reach out to undergraduates and campus organizations for support.
  • Reach out to the other unions, particularly the other campus unions including our sister UAW Local 7902, Adjuncts Coming Together, which has consistently supported us throughout our long campaign.
  • Reach out to elected officials and sympathetic community organizations that have supported our struggle in the past.
  • Reach out to media on campus and more broadly.
The Bargaining Committee has already begun talking to members across campus, and we’ll schedule a summer strategy meeting in the coming weeks. But don’t wait to get involved. We ask all members who are in New York City this summer to volunteer time for outreach. Please contact us at: 212.529.2580/212.529.2580 X208 or at

Healthcare refund

On May 1, NYU Associate VP Carlo Ciotoli announced that NYU students enrolled in the student health plan would receive refunds. The reason? In 2012-13, the University charged premiums that were considerably above what was actually required to cover the real cost of the benefits. Because of the Affordable Care Act (legislation the UAW actively lobbied for), not only is the Administration forced to refund money to those who were enrolled previously, but the Administration is now projecting a lower cost for health benefits for next year.

Infuriatingly, despite these savings, the Administration continues to reject union proposals for improved, affordable health care for all working graduate students.