solidarity across unions

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Why GSOC is winning 

By Gordon Lafer
December 09, 2005
Washington Square News

To an outside observer, the most dramatic fact about the current strike may be that all signs suggest that the Graduate Student Organizing Committee is on the verge of a huge victory. Since this fact seems to be counterintuitive to many people, it's worth laying out the reasons I think so.

First, the Draconian threats that the administration has made - every one of which is illegal under federal labor law - are impossible to carry out. The university claims that its intimidation tactics have succeeded in scaring three-quarters of GAs into giving up the strike. This number may or may not be real - they probably have no accurate way of knowing, and given the history of administrative hyper-spin, it's probably exaggerated. But even if just 250 GAs keep striking, the administration can't afford to enact its threats. If NYU President John Sexton were to ban 250 graduate students from teaching and cut all their funding for the spring semester, some of them would be forced to drop out, and some international students would be forced to leave the country. Departments with strong participation in the union might find their graduate programs hurt. There would be an enormous outcry of protest from both graduate students and faculty.

Normally, people on strike do not get paid. That was the "punishment" that GSOC members were prepared for. But NYU has kept paying strikers for a strategic reason. Everyone knows that the National Labor Relations Board case may be re-litigated under a Democratic president. Docking the pay of strikers would make it apparent that NYU is paying GAs for work and not giving them a stipend for scholarly training. The administration's strategic choice to keep paying strikers made it easier for people to stay out. But it certainly doesn't give the administration the right to turn to the thuggish tactic of blacklisting...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

5,000 int'l faculty petition NYU 

by Adam Playford
December 07, 2005

About 5,000 international scholars have signed an open letter online protesting NYU’s decision to not recognize the graduate students’ union and punish those who continue striking past today’s administration-imposed deadline.

Starting with nine original signatories — including famous critical theorists and professors from Duke University, Columbia University, the University of London and several schools in the University of California system — the petition has become one of the most popular among the thousands of petitions circulating on, the website where it was posted last week. The letter harshly criticizes NYU for threatening to impose retaliatory actions against the union.

“Undermining the union itself is nothing more than Reagan-esque union-busting and so conveys and enacts hostility to student labor that can only heighten conflict and circulate a ruinous image for New York University as an unfair and indecent place of employment,” read the letter, which was conceived by University of California at Berkeley professor Judith Butler....

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Grads in Baltimore slam Sexton 

by Melissa Saks
December 06, 2005
Washington Square News

Graduate assistants from the University of Pennsylvania and Rutgers University were joined by officials from the AFL-CIO to protest NYU President John Sextons stance against the graduate students union at a speaking engagement in Baltimore, Md., yesterday morning...

NYU: Listen and end this now 

by WSN editorial board
December 06, 2005
Washington Square News

Faculty Democracy held a funeral for faculty voice today, effectively mourning the fact that the administration does not care what faculty think about the struggle with GSOC. Were surprised that NYU doesnt seem to care that theyre distancing important, well-liked faculty (including heads of departments), who are probably going to be around far longer than the undergraduates both sides are striving to win over...

Thursday, December 01, 2005

GSOC allies charge Bobst Administration Building 

Students enter library to deliver letter to Sexton, unfurl sign
by Bryan Pirolli
Washington Square News
December 01, 2005

About 150 students charged Bobst Library yesterday to deliver a letter to NYU President John Sexton demanding a resolution to the graduate assistants strike as part of a day of action intended to compel the university to negotiate with the graduate students union...

The Coalition of Graduate Employee Unions is a loose-knit coalition of labor unions in the USA and Canada that represents graduate students employed as teachers, researchers, and administrative staff.