In yesterday’s bargaining session with NYU, we offered to enter mediation, on certain terms. Here’s why:
First, what is mediation?
In bargaining mediation, a third party is brought in to help reach an agreement for a contract. The mediator meets with us and the university separately, and relays our respective proposals and responses. Mediation is voluntary and non-binding. We are not obligated to accept any offer the mediator brings, and we can walk away from the process at any time.
Why didn’t we use mediation before?
NYU proposed mediation early in bargaining, when they were repeatedly not bringing any counter proposals to the table. We couldn’t see any strategic gain to mediation while they were stonewalling negotiations. We opted instead to modify and drop proposals while increasing the pressure in bargaining through our majority support petition, strike authorization vote, and strike deadline. This strategy of sustained pressure brought significant wins.
Why are we open to using mediation now?
We remain far apart from NYU in several key areas of our contract, including compensation and healthcare. NYU hasn’t budged from their offer of $1 raises for hourly workers since we began bargaining 10 months ago. We are confident that a mediator would agree with us that this is unreasonable. We believe that the combined strategy of the strike and mediation will put us in the most advantageous position to bring NYU significantly closer in meeting our demands.
In yesterday’s bargaining session, we agreed to mediation on three conditions: we will not end, pause, or postpone our strike; we will work with the federal mediator assigned to our contract, not a private mediator; and we will continue to hold open bargaining sessions.
What happens next?
NYU agreed to the first and third terms, but has requested 48 hours to respond on the second. We’re not sure why they need all this time to research the mediator that has already been assigned to our contract, but in any event, the ball is once again in NYU’s court.
Our next bargaining session with NYU is on Thursday, April 29th at 1:00 PM EDT.