FAIR CONTRACT NOW!
WHAT WE WANT AND HOW WE GET IT
We are working for a strong contract, transparency and communication among membership, and social justice.
We stand by a strategy of union democracy, mass participation, social justice values, and escalating public pressure on the university. Our efforts have stemmed from a deep commitment to making our union one that actively encourages members to participate and takes direction from them.
The most effective way to put pressure on NYU is through a vibrant, democratic union that maximizes the involvement and leadership of as many members as possible, through both one-on-one organizing and collective actions. We remain committed to reflecting our social justice commitments by building broad alliances with our allies among undergraduates, faculty, the community, and other unions. Social justice also means democratic practices within our union.
We are a building a union, a community, and a movement. We are confident that our efforts will lead to a fair contract for all graduate workers at NYU.
Our Vision for a Strong, Comprehensive Contract
We are fighting for a contract that equitably compensates us and supports us so that we, and our families, can live and work well. This must include:
- Comprehensive health, dental, and vision plans for workers and their families.
- Percentage wage and stipend increases that correspond with cost-of-living increases.
- Childcare benefits that cover our working hours.
- A contract that improves the weakest funding packages and extends the strongest by raising stipends and wages.
- Worker security and financial protection in the case of cancelled courses and placements.
- Limits to undergraduate class sizes and job title protections so TAs can’t be changed to graders.
- Increased stability for international students in job placement.
- A shorter-term contract that allows us to raise our pay as cost-of-living increases and to more easily organize graduate workers in the hard sciences currently excluded from the unit.
HERE is a side-by-side summary of our most recent public position, compared with the NYU Administration’s offer. (Released to membership on 2/16/15.)
Transparency & Communication
The strongest contract can only be won by developing our bargaining in conversation with the membership, to whom we are accountable. Transparency is key for a strong democratic union. This includes:
- Elected rank-and-file membership participation in ALL contract negotiation sessions
- Reporting back to membership in regular meetings
- Detailed, regular electronic reports to the membership
- Access to meeting minutes for membership and allies
- Transparent, effective, member-led communications infrastructures
A strong union participates in broader issues of academic governance and advocates for social justice. Therefore we:
- Bargain for contract language that protects our rights to free speech and assembly and regulates worker surveillance.
- Prioritize wins for gender justice in the contract, such as child care, partner and child benefits, lactation rooms.
- Draw strength from and support our campus and communities allies: including NYU faculty in their efforts for democratic governance and against the expansion plan, adjunct and contract faculty organizing, university staff fighting cuts in various sectors, and undergrads in the movement against student debt.
We are fighting for the strongest contract for all workers. Hourly student workers at Polytechnic School of Engineering deserve an enormous pay raise. Students at Washington Square deserve raises, too. While we are committed to bringing the bottom up, stipended PhD employees at the “top” of our unit do not live in the lap of luxury, so we are not amenable to proposals that leave any school without a raise. We have rejected different pay scales between schools, which might continue to divide the unit indefinitely. Instead, we advocate for different pay scales for masters and PhD students. Alongside union rights and higher wages, we also insist that all workers in the unit deserve tuition remission, full healthcare, dental and vision care, and child care, alongside affordable options for expanding their coverage and insuring their families.
We continue to include members in our decision-making processes, since the outcomes will directly affect them, and we are only as strong as our collective strength.
We resolved many of our non-economic issues early in bargaining. Economic issues are always the most contentious, and the University Administration has not offered any official counter-proposal to our economic demands since May 2014.
On November 3, 2014, management suggested we enter into non-binding mediation. We scheduled a meeting with members to discuss this development in bargaining before making our decision. After member feedback and careful consideration, on November 12, 2014, the bargaining committee agreed to enter mediation. We remain adamant that a decision to enter mediation cannot replace ongoing efforts to escalate and, possibly, a strike.