EmailsQuick Explainer

Quick Explainer: Your protected rights to vote YES as international & immigrant workers

If you missed our previous quick explainers: living wage & health care.

What we have now

Our current contract does not stipulate any financial or legal assistance or civic protections to our international and immigrant graduate workers. International and immigrant workers make up 40% of our membership, and given NYU’s rising status as a “global university,” we believe that our new proposal should include legal protections and compensations for international workers.
What NYU is offering

NYU has refused to negotiate on issues related to International and Immigrant workers, outright rejecting all our proposals without explanation and offering the OGS website as a response. In fact, during one of our bargaining sessions, NYU’s chief spokesperson fell asleep as International Students shared testimonials of difficulties they experienced due to their immigration status. Given NYU’s silence and callousness surrounding our concerns, the only way we expect any movement from the university is under the threat of a credible strike vote.

 What we’re asking

Our current proposal seeks subsidized legal and tax assistance to international workers, as well as a denial of campus access to federal, ICE, and CBP officers without a warrant. 

Taxes for international workers are complicated and involved, varying from year to year, by country and by immigration status. Glacier Tax Prep service is only available to workers filing federal taxes as non-resident aliens, and it is also known to mess up fairly regularly. As such, international workers frequently find themselves having to hire external tax consultants so they can be sure of filing their taxes correctly each year. 

In addition, international and immigrant workers’ legal status in the US remains precarious due to changing immigration laws that are hard to navigate. The only reason international and immigrant workers incur these legal and tax costs is due to their status as students of NYU. 

International and immigrant graduate workers also face the threat of harassment and abuse from federal, ICE, and CBP agents. NYU should commit to becoming a true sanctuary for all our students, especially for those without the protections of US citizenship.

How this compares to other universities and other NYU employees

Other employees at NYU get access to a group legal plan.

The University of California graduate workers union has already won the Sanctuary measures we are demanding.

University of Michigan graduate workers get SEVIS fee reimbursement as part of their union benefits.

NYU should follow these examples, and recognize that these are our working conditions, and take this important step towards making NYU a true sanctuary for all students. 

Watch this video of two international grad workers explaining why they are voting YES to strike.

Finally, if you are an international worker, remember that you have the same rights as US citizens to participate in union activity, including striking. It is illegal for NYU to retaliate against you for protected union activity. Still worried? It’s an anonymous secret ballot so your vote decision is protected.


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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