NYU Reacts: GSOC agreement

Alex Bazeley

NYU and the Graduate Students Organizing Committee at NYU announced Monday that they had come to a tentative agreement on a contract, averting the looming strike threatened by graduate assistants.

Since the university formally recognized the union in December 2013, the two sides have been trying to negotiate a contract for full healthcare coverage, tuition remission and increased wages. After four months of third-party mediation, the union set a formal strike deadline of Monday. The strike was called off, as the two parties reached an agreement just hours before it was set to take effect.

The contract, which lasts until 2020, includes 90 percent subsidized individual health care, 100 percent increase in wages and a gradual wage increase at the Polytechnic School of Engineering.

Members of the NYU community shared their thoughts on the resulting contract.

“The tentative agreement GSOC achieved last night is a victory for both undergraduates and graduates because it took back some of the power our administration robs from us. The administration did not gift our graduate student workers this contract, our graduate student workers won it.” – Ellis Garey, CAS senior

“While I am disappointed by some aspects of the contract, including the lack of quality dental coverage and the overly long term of the contract, overall I am pleased with what we were able to achieve.” – David Klassen, fifth year doctoral student and member of the
bargaining committee

“This is a monumental moment. We were fully prepared to go ahead with a strike and would not have called off the strike had we not felt that the agreement made significant strides in addressing key areas of critical concern to graduate employees: better wages, better health care and support for our families.” – Lily Defriend, GSAS student and member of the bargaining committee

“It is unfortunate that the university needed to be threatened with a strike in order to understand the concerns of the graduates students. I don’t think we should have to wait until the threat of a strike to care about the issue and make changes, but unfortunately that was the situation in this case.” – Monilola Ilupeju, LS freshman

“Undergraduates especially should be proud of ourselves — between the Provost’s email on Friday and the letter delivery on Monday afternoon, we were able to get more than 500 student signatures onto a letter of support for the graduate workers’ strike. A new majority is rising at NYU of students who believe their economic interests as students and future workers are better protected when they unite together, students who know that it is the graduate workers who share their common interests, and not the NYU administration.” – Victor Li, Steinhardt senior

A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, March 11 print edition. Email Alex Bazeley at [email protected]

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