Members of the Union of Clerical, Administrative and Technical Staff Local 3883 gathered in front of 105 East 17th St. last night to express the union’s demands for a new contract with NYU and to voice their dissatisfaction with the current state of negotiations.
Approximately 40 people, including members of UCATS Local 3882 and other unions, rallied outside a contract negotiation meeting between UCATS and NYU.
UCATS Local 3882, which represents nearly 1,400 members of NYU’s staff, has been in negotiations for a new six-year contract with the university since Sept. 18. The contract, which was agreed upon in 2011, expired on Oct. 31. Failing to reach an agreement, both sides extended the deadline for agreement to Nov. 30.
UCATS Local 3882 President and Stern graduate Stephen Rechner blamed NYU for the delays in contract negotiations. He said the university did not begin responding to the union’s proposals until mid-October.
Rechner believes that NYU is disrespecting UCATS members as the university has been unresponsive to most of the union’s demands.
“Respect will best be shown by raising our pay in accordance with the level and volume of work we do as a highly educated, highly skilled workforce, as well as addressing the other issues our members have said are important,” Rechner said. “Everyone knows NYU is awash in money for the things they want to spend it on.”
One of the union’s main concerns is affordability. Since many union members cannot afford to live within a reasonable commuting distance from NYU due to high rent, UCATS demands that NYU increase worker wages to accurately represent workers’ levels of productivity according to Rechner.
Rechner added that UCATS is also demanding better health insurance plans for its members, as well as more flexible work schedules to accommodate long commutes, better training and professional development and paid parental bonding leave for members, among other things.
Yesterday’s rally came after another session of difficult and stubborn negotiations for the UCATS bargaining team. However, UCATS Vice President Christopher Crowe said that there were also some positives for UCATS to take away from last night.
“Some things are going to have to change before we can settle this contract,” Crowe said. “Some things were good. Some things were insulting and disheartening, but sometimes that’s the dance.”
Nevertheless, with negotiations continuing to rumble on past the October expiration date for the previous contract between UCATS and NYU, members of UCATS and other unions feel that NYU is disrespecting their demands.
Bob Angles, a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers who marched with UCATS members at the rally, talked about his dissatisfaction with NYU’s behavior in its negotiations with UCATS.
“Their rudeness is to make a point,” Angles said. “It is a point of disrespect for the workers. To me, these workers deserve respect.”
NYU representatives were contacted several times but did not provide a comment on the university’s negotiations with UCATS.
The next meeting for contract negotiations between the UCATS bargaining team and NYU is scheduled for Nov. 20.
Email Lorenzo Gazzola at [email protected]