May 11 was graduation day at New York University (NYU), and hundreds of striking graduate assistants and their supporters in the faculty and community rallied for the last time this school year. However, they promised to return next semester and again and again until the university recognizes their desire for a union.
"Graduate employees should take great pride in the students who are receiving their diplomas today, because you taught them most everything they learned here," AFL-CIO President John Sweeney told the strikers. "It is a shame we can no longer take that same kind of pride in New York University, because when it comes to fairness and equality, the bosses at NYU have forgotten everything they learned."
NYU graduate workers, who have been on strike since November, voted to join Graduate Student Organizing Committee (GSOC)/UAW Local 2110 in 2000 and negotiated a four-year contract with the university. That contract expired last August, and the university refused to negotiate a new one and ceased recognizing the union.
The May 11 rally followed a convention and demonstration by the group April 27 at which 57 students were arrested during a sit-in.
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.