GSOC to vote on contract provisions

Amanda Morris

After months of negotiations with NYU, the Graduate Students Organizing Committee will administer a vote to make the labor contract between NYU and GSOC legally binding. The voting period will last until April 6, and if a majority of graduate students vote for the contract, GSOC will become the only union to have a contract with a private university.

The contract includes pay and compensation increases for graduate workers. At the Polytechnic School of Engineering, the minimum wage is expected to double by 2019, going up from $10 an hour to $20 an hour.

Doctoral student and GSOC Bargaining Committee member Natasha Raheja said she was satisfied with these raises.

“We wouldn’t have been able to settle for anything else,” Raheja said. “This is a social justice contract with the highest raises going to the lowest paid.”

NYU spokesperson John Beckman said the university is anticipating the vote to confirm the agreement.

“We’re pleased that both sides have signed the Memorandum of Agreement,” Beckman said. “We look forward to news of the ratification vote by the members of the bargaining unit.”

Health care coverage was another big gain for GSOC in the contract, as workers who previously received no healthcare coverage will now receive a 90 percent individual health care subsidy.

GSOC’s Communications Committee point person Chris Nickell said the health care provision was the contract’s biggest success.

“I think that’s huge in terms of providing quality of life for all of us, no matter what school we belong to,” Nickell said.

The contract also created family health care and child care funds, which aim to aid graduate students with families.

Raheja added that more provisions should be included in the next contract including MA tuition remission, improved dental care and decreased class size to ease workload. Under the current contract, such provisions cannot be renegotiated until 2020.

CAS junior Katie Eiler said she is happy an agreement could be reached, but worries about the ramifications of a long contract.

“I think we’re all very happy that it didn’t have to go to strike, and about the concessions won by the union, but I’ve heard that the longer length of the contract might be a problem when it comes to keeping negotiations with the university a two-way street,” Eiler said.

Raheja agreed that a shorter contract would have been better, but said GSOC will continue undeterred.

“A shorter contract is helpful for keeping members active, enabling distinctive sets of workers to determine their bargaining priorities and position us to make greater wins in subsequent negotiations,” Raheja said. “We aim to sustain our union momentum and leverage our union power through social justice initiatives in addition to strong enforcement of
the contract.”

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, March 31 print edition. Email Amanda Morris at [email protected]

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