EmailsQuick Explainer

Quick Explainer: We already have benefits. Why are we bargaining for more?

“Our current contract gives us protections and benefits: we have 90% health care coverage, and a 20/hr wage. So why vote to authorize a potential strike and rock the boat?'”

Let’s not forget that the benefits we have now are a direct result of the Strike Authorization Vote in 2015 and that we won our current contract after 95% of grad workers voted for a strike.

Our 2015 contract was an important win that doubled the hourly wage from $10 to $20. It showed that a strike vote can successfully and significantly raise the standard of living for all our members: course assistants, teaching assistants, and hourly workers.

But that contract didn’t cover enough. 

Six years later, our union members can only work 20 paid hours a week–that’s an NYU administration rule. International students can’t work off campus because of F1 visa limits. 

Even worse, after COVID, NYU reduced hours and positions, cutting off grad workers’ primary income source. 

Our current health care plan leaves grad workers on small stipends with thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs, many of whom can barely cover rent to begin with. 

Bargaining for a new contract and putting pressure on the university by voting for a strike does not jeopardize the benefits or the contract we already have. Even more, the law protects our right to act as a union, vote to authorize a strike, and strike if we choose. If we all vote YES to strike, we have nothing to lose. 

Instead, we have plenty to gain by voting YES: full health care coverage, higher wages and compensation, better workplace protections from harassment, and legal aid for international workers navigating U.S. laws and restrictions. And yes, NYU can afford it! Voting YES (in a secret ballot) does not “rock the boat.” It is exercising a legally protected tool that works in improving our working conditions. 

The strike vote will remind the university that it cannot operate without the essential work of our members. Join us in the fight for a better contract by voting today. 

In solidarity, 

If you worked a unit bargaining position in 2020 or are working this semester (includes J-term 2021) you are eligible to vote in the strike vote and should have received a ballot at 11am on Tuesday, March 23. The email was from “Local 2110” and would have been sent to your NYU email (search “Local 2110” in your inbox).
Eligible to vote but never got an email? Reach out to

And check out our strike hub for more info!