April 30, 2021

NYSUT pledges support for NYU graduate students union

Author: Liza Frenette
Source:  RA 2021
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Rechner
Caption: Stephen Rechner, president of the 1,400-member UCATS and a NYSUT Board member, put forth the resolution of support for GSOC to NYSUT, calling attention to vital issues the graduate students are fighting for. Photo provided.

The Graduate Student Organizing Committee of New York University is on strike after 10 months without a contract, and NYSUT pledged today to support the union.

In interactive virtual pickets, and physical picket lines alongside Washington Square Park, graduate students, community activists, faculty, politicians and supporters from other labor unions began chanting and marching on Monday. Among the union’s supporters are members of the NYSUT local, University of Clerical Administrative and Technical Staff who also work at NYU.

Stephen Rechner, president of the 1,400-member UCATS and a NYSUT Board member, put forth the resolution of support for GSOC to NYSUT, calling attention to vital issues the graduate students are fighting for.

During the 10 months of negotiations, he said, “NYU has failed to make meaningful proposals or counterproposals regarding a living wage, expanded health care, child care, support for international students, better protections against all forms of harassment on campus, and numerous other issues vital to the interests of GSOC members.”

The last contract was bargained in 2015. With this new round of negotiations six years later, NYU has failed to offer more than a $1 per hour wage increase.

“They currently earn $20 an hour, but they only work 20 hours a week, many of them only 10 months a year,” said Rechner today, after walking the picket line this morning. “NYU’s position is that they’re paying GSOC members more than peer institutions, but that’s nothing to be proud of when the system has ruthlessly underpaid this group of workers since the beginning of time. That’s just $400 per week in a city where even a tiny run-down one-bedroom is $2,400 per month.”

GSOC has a proud history dating back to the 1990s of fighting for labor rights at NYU, Rechner said, and been an important ally to UCATS, Local 3882. Their strike authorization vote passed at 96 percent.

“NYSUT calls upon the leadership of NYU to make significant moves towards a fair contract and to abstain from withholding pay from GSOC members or engaging in any other form of retaliation against them,” reads the resolution of support.

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