Thursday, Jul 24, 2014 06:41 am est

Committee to address graduate worker conflicts

Posted on February 10, 2014 | by Ann Schmidt

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Eight members of the Graduate Student Organizing Committee/United Automobile Workers were elected to be a part of the GSOC/UAW Local 2110 Bargaining Committee on Feb. 5. The nominations opened on Jan. 22 and, according to the notice about nominations, all eligible union supporters were automatically nominated. The nominees who wanted to participate had to submit an acceptance by Jan. 31.

When all steps in the process were completed, Pushkar Bharambe, Lily Defriend, Brady Fletcher, Yeshim Iqbal, Aryeh Katz, Jeong Min Kim, Natasha Raheja and Theadora Tolkin became the official members.

The group had been waiting to agree on an updated contract with NYU for eight years but had faced opposition to unionization from the administration until last semester.

“The possibility that I could be a part of creating a historic contract that would go a long way to protecting graduate student labor at NYU is something I decided I wanted to do,” said Fletcher, a Cinema Studies doctoral student.

Tim Neff, a Steinhardt doctoral student studying Media, Culture and Communication, said he looks forward to the progress the new committee could make.

“I’m sure they will work for a contract that benefits all graduate employees and mutually benefits the university by keeping those employees and their families healthy and happy,” Neff said. “This is a unique and historic moment, and I’m sure the committee will do a great job.”

The committee’s plans will primarily focus on health care, family-friendly benefits and inequities between employees at the Washington Square NYU campus and the Poly campus in Brooklyn, Fletcher explained.

“Our goal is fair compensation for the work that we do, improved and equal working conditions for everyone across campus and ensuring that NYU is an inclusive employer to its graduate students with families and children,” Fletcher said.

Voicing and addressing the concerns will not happen immediately, as the group has not yet scheduled a date for the first meeting with the university.

“We still have to ratify our proposals with the membership before we actually go to the table,” said Defriend, a doctoral student in Anthropology.

Fletcher said the committee wants the university will be interested in negotiating the issues all graduate employees must face.

“We are hoping that the university’s neutral stance during the election in December signals that they are prepared to [negotiate], so we can set new standards as a highly competitive, world class university, and so the union and the university can build a respectful relationship that will facilitate negotiating a great contract,” Fletcher said.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, February 10 print edition. Ann Schmidt is a desk editor. Email her at


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Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.


Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

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