TL;DR: While both NYU and GSOC made some proposals and counterproposals, there continued to be significant disagreement between both parties about the scope of negotiations, leading NYU to suggest hiring a third-party negotiator.
In the face of NYU’s claim that student health coverage is not a workplace issue, several rank and file GSOC members shared powerful testimonies of their hardship dealing with chronic health issues and navigating NYU’s inadequate and byzantine insurance. These testimonies made it abundantly clear that inadequate coverage and high costs significantly impacted student’s ability to work, a fact that is all the more outrageous considering NYU makes significant amounts of money on the sale of pharmaceutical patents. In light of these testimonies, GSOC reiterated its demands that NYU ensure that students receive adequate health coverage, especially in the context of a global pandemic.
As a sign of our willingness to negotiate with NYU, GSOC made some modifications and amendments to our existing proposals. Some of our impact bargaining demands were folded into regular bargaining demands (here is our explainer video on the difference). We also reduced the extent of some of our demands. For example, instead of demanding free in-house tax advice for international students, we have modified our proposal to have reimbursements for tax consultation for up to $100 per student/per year. Instead of demanding NYU form a legal team in the Office of Global Services (OGS) in order to assist international students with immigration and visa issues, we have modified our proposal to be that international students should have access to the legal plan to which other full-time NYU workers have access. GSOC also withdrew some proposals which did not rank highly in our contract bargaining survey, including demands for an on-campus child facility, subsidies for bike commuters and language and writing assistance for international students.
NYU offered some modest counterproposals for the first time in weeks. They proposed appointment letters 21 days before the start of a position. GSOC agreed to this proposal. NYU also proposed paid parental leave of four weeks for people who have worked two semesters prior to the period of leave, up to one year after the birth of a child.
Despite this movement on both sides, NYU again stated that it would refuse to negotiate over most of GSOC’s proposals – including NYU/NYPD ties and Equity & Inclusion demands – and suggested that it may be necessary to employ a third-party negotiator because the differences between NYU’s legal counsel and GSOC appear too great.
We’ve again extended our contract until October 13, which is when our next bargaining session is. We are continually grateful for the strong showing by GSOC’s rank and file members during the bargaining sessions.