September/October 2013 Issue
September 18, 2013

UCATS members won't pay for NYU's mistake

Author: Darryl McGrath
Source: NYSUT United

Thanks to successful negotiations by local leaders, members of the Union of Clerical, Administrative and Technical Staff (UCATS) will not pay for New York University's mistake.

A recent settlement requires the university to make up for its own error when it did not collect certain federal payroll taxes.

"NYU had failed to collect FICA/Medicare taxes from 40 of our members, all of whom were originally student workers who, upon graduation, were hired into positions in our bargaining unit," said UCATS President Stephen Rechner, who also is a NYSUT Board member. "Some members 'owed' as much as $3,000."

When NYU asked the UCATS members to reimburse the university for its own error, union leaders stepped in and negotiated a settlement. NYU has agreed to notify each impacted member of the error and inform them that they are not required to pay the uncollected taxes, Rechner said. UCATS will ensure all parts of the settlement are fulfilled.

The payroll tax debacle is the latest issue in a contentious relationship between NYU and UCATS, which took a vote of no confidence in NYU President John Sexton last spring. Sexton has since announced he is stepping down at the end of his term in 2016.

"The nearly 1,400 NYU staff represented by UCATS are experiencing stagnant wages, unmanageable health care costs and a deteriorating quality of work life," Rechner said at the time of the vote. "The enrichment of those who 'have,' at the cost of those who have less, has been a hallmark of President Sexton's leadership. We have experienced three decades of disinvestment in faculty and support staff who deliver the education for which NYU students pay so dearly."