EmailsQuick Explainer

Quick Explainer: What is a living wage in NYC?

What we have now
The current minimum rate for hourly grad workers is $20/hour. An employee working 20 hours a week—the most permitted at NYU—earns just $400 a week before taxes.

What NYU is offering
NYU’s current proposal would raise the minimum hourly rate by only $1 in the first year of the contract. That means only $20 more a week for you. By 2025,  this wage rate would be less than $25/hr.What we’re asking
Our current proposal is for $38/hour in the first year of our new contract, with 3.5% increases in each subsequent year. Given the cost of living in NYC, and the fact that NYU limits grad employees to a max of 20 hours/week (with many able to work far less than that), a starting wage of $38/hour is what we need and deserve.

Plus: we know NYU can afford it. As for the Pandemic, internal reports from as early as August 2020 show that NYU did not suffer as badly as they initially expected and that “no additional cost savings actions will be necessary.” We have made many counter-offers to NYU regarding compensation but NYU has not made any serious moves, which seems like it could only happen under the credible threat of a strike.

How this compares to other grad workers and NYU employees
Our proposed hourly rates for grad workers are well in line with those of other unionized employees at NYU, considering that most of us can’t work more than 20 hours/week and that we are currently paid a lower hourly rate than other NYU workers. As of 2020–21, NYU clerical workers (UCATS) are guaranteed a minimum of $993 per week ($24.83/hr), and maintenance workers (Local 810 IBT) receive at least $1261 per week ($31.53/hr). As for NYU admin (none of which took any pay cuts)… check out the infographic below.
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. 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!
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