Bernie Sanders, New York politicians stand with striking NYU grad student workers

Three days into the GSOC strike, politicians from the national to local levels have expressed their support for the union.


Alexandra Chan

NYC mayoral candidate Dianne Morales speaks to the picketers on day one of NYU GSOC’s strike. Morales is among many other politicians and public figures who have expressed support for GSOC. (Staff Photo by Alexandra Chan)

Arnav Binaykia, Deputy News Editor

As the strike action initiated by the Graduate Student Organizing Committee entered its third day on Wednesday, national, state and city politicians expressed their support for the union. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders published a tweet in support of GSOC on Wednesday afternoon.

Dianne Morales, a candidate in the upcoming New York City mayoral election, visited the picket line outside Bobst Library on Monday, the first day of the strike. Morales expressed her support for GSOC in a speech delivered to graduate workers, undergraduate students and faculty members at the picket line.

In an email to WSN, Morales reaffirmed her support for the union and accused NYU of engaging in anti-labor activities.

“It is shameful that NYU is exploiting students who work at the institution and not ensuring that all their employees have access to a good living wage, good healthcare, paid vacation and leave, and safe working conditions that enable them to support their families,” Morales said. “It is disturbing and unacceptable that NYU’s administration has been willing to focus their resources on alleged slatemates and union busting rather than toward protecting and supporting their employees and community members.”

Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president and city mayoral candidate, also objected to NYU’s response to the strike.

“As a son and brother of the Labor movement, I take allegations of union busting very seriously,” Adams said in an email statement to WSN. “Worker-employer issues are best resolved through fair, good-faith negotiations. This is a challenging economic climate for graduate students, and all young members of our workforce, and universities should be sensitive to their concerns.”

Morales also emphasized her endorsement of GSOC’s demand that NYU break ties with the New York City Police Department and commit to preventing police from entering campus buildings without a warrant. GSOC has demanded that NYU become a sanctuary campus, denying warrantless access to NYPD, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers — a proposal that NYU has thus far opposed.

“I also stand with [GSOC] in support of the demands that NYU become a police-free campus,” Morales said. “The campus should be a refuge for Black and Brown students, teaching assistants, professors, employees, rather than the NYPD.”

Other local politicians have spoken out in support of GSOC, including Sen. Brad Hoylman, the Democratic state senator for New York’s 27th district and candidate for Manhattan borough president.

Workers’ rights are under assault across our country – even here in New York City,” Hoylman said in an email statement to WSN. Graduate students are essential to our colleges and universities, and in one of the most expensive cities in the world, they deserve living wages and affordable health care. As the State Senator representing NYU’s main campus, I stand with the Graduate Student Organizing Committee. NYU must compensate all of its workers fairly.

Hoylman also extended his support to the union on Twitter.


Email Arnav Binaykia at [email protected].