Graduate workers at NYU are among the university’s lowest-paid workers. After nine months of bargaining, NYU continues to offer only $1 increases on hourly pay and has offered insubstantial raises on total compensation for graduate workers who receive stipends. The university has refused to bargain at all on a wide range of key issues, from tuition waivers for master’s students to international students’ needs to police on campus. Meanwhile, GSOC’s Bargaining Committee has submitted detailed proposals and made numerous revisions, including decreasing our compensation proposal to a $38/hr minimum wage in our effort to agree on a contract.
Earlier this month, we delivered a petition from over 1,200 grad workers calling on NYU to either stop stonewalling or face a strike vote. We are now making good on that petition and the ball is in NYU’s court.
In a year of unprecedented financial hardship, unionized workers at NYU received their contractually guaranteed wage increases while top administrators denied raises to non-unionized employees, all the while refusing to cut their own lavish salaries. Moreover, graduate workers, already living below the living wage, bore the brunt of NYU’s austerity. We lost jobs entirely, or faced reduced hours.
What the university considers “enormous demands” are in fact just, reasonable, and affordable proposals to meet the urgent needs of grad employees across NYU. Even if the university’s inflated 5-year estimated $500 million figure were accurate, this would represent only a small portion of NYU’s salary expenses. Currently, GSOC workers’ combined wages make up only 1.2% of NYU’s $3.7 billion budget for 2021.
If NYU wants to show its “good faith” and commitment to support grad workers, it can do so by making meaningful movement at the bargaining table, not by issuing empty public statements.
About GSOC-UAW 2110: In 2001, the Graduate Student Organizing Committee (GSOC), part of United Auto Workers Local 2110, became the first recognized union of graduate employees at a private university in the United States. We are a member-run union of over 2,000 NYU teaching assistants, adjunct instructors, research assistants, and hourly workers. Our last collective bargaining agreement was signed March 9, 2015, on the deadline for a worker strike.
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