Tension Builds Amid Negotiations Between NYU and UCATS


Edoardo Bastianini

UCATS Local 3882 protested the university’s response to their demands outside Bobst Library.

Edoardo Bastianini, Contributing Writer

Around 40 members and supporters of the Union of Clerical, Administrative and Technical Staff Local 3882, gathered in front of Elmer Holmes Bobst Library this afternoon to express their dissatisfaction with the state of the current negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement with NYU.

UCATS Local 3882 represents nearly 1,400 members of the university’s staff. The rally today represents an escalation of tension that has arisen between the two sides of the bargaining table, who entered into discussions earlier last month, for a new six-year contract.

Negotiations will continue until Oct. 31, when the old contract officially expires.

According to UCATS, NYU is not cooperating to meet the requests of the workers.

“The administration is late, not forthcoming with their offers,” Library Clerk Robert Platt said at the rally. “We made a good effort, [and] we want an agreement. We are waiting, but NYU is not interested in providing us with feedback on our proposals.”

The union requests what Platt calls “reasonable pay increases.”

UCATS president, Stephen Rechner, a Stern graduate and an employee at NYU Law, said that NYU has responded to few of the union’s demands.

“NYU responded only to two minor proposals out of 16 in the last session,” Rechner said in an interview. “NYU did not propose anything. They say they do have proposals, but they didn’t give us anything.”

Rechner also said that the members of the union are having an affordability crisis.

“Rents are very high, and we cannot afford to live anywhere near NYU,” Rechner said. “They are adding faculty and student body but cutting staff. The workload is higher, but the wages are not. We are asking for flexibility.”

The union also demands paid parental bonding leave. According to the union, almost 55 percent of UCATS members are women.

“Why don’t we have six weeks paid parental leave like the other member of the faculty and administrators?” Rechner said in an interview.

The university gives a different story of its commitment to the negotiations. According to NYU spokesperson John Beckman, the university is committed to reaching a fair and sound contract.

“I can assure you that the university would like to come to agreement just as promptly as the union — any suggestion to the contrary is misguided and at odds with the facts,” Beckman said. “The union presented its wage demands for the first time less than a week ago; one could reasonably ask why the union didn’t present the proposal earlier.”

Both sides, however, seem committed to reach an agreement by Oct. 31. Rechner said the union will do everything possible to negotiate a contract by Monday, Oct. 30.

At the moment, according to UCATS, a similar situation to what happened nearly 30 years ago, when an impasse in negotiations resulted in a call for a strike, seems unlikely. As of Oct. 23, there are still two bargaining sessions before Monday.

Correction: Oct. 26, 2017

A previous version of this article stated that the name of the union was UCATS Local 3883, when it is actually UCATS Local 3882.  Additionally, the article state that 65 percent of UCATS 3882 is female, when in fact 55 percent of UCATS 3882 is female. 

Email Eduardo Bastianini at [email protected].