Students, faculty celebrate adjunct union’s tentative contract

Labor unions at NYU gathered in celebration of the adjunct union’s new tentative agreement with the university at Schwartz Plaza on Friday, Nov. 4.

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Members of the union for adjunct faculty at NYU and their supporters celebrate the union’s tentative agreement with NYU last Friday. (Photo by Alexandra Chan)

Kayla Hardersen, Senior Staff Writer

Cheers erupted from a crowd in Schwartz Plaza on Nov. 4 as members of NYU’s labor unions and the campus chapter of Young Democratic Socialists of America gathered to celebrate the adjunct union’s tentative contract with the university. The agreement between the union and the university was reached after a previous contract, established in 2016, expired at midnight on Oct. 31. 

The six-year tentative agreement was reached on Nov. 1 after a 15-hour bargaining session between union members and the university. The union, known as ACT-UAW Local 7902, won increases in pay, compensation for work completed outside the classroom, health insurance subsidies for adjuncts and their dependents, and other benefits. The tentative contract will be voted on by union membership in the coming weeks.

Representatives from NYU labor unions joined the celebration, including the Graduate Student Organizing Committee and the unrecognized union of contract faculty at the university. 

Anila Gill, a Tisch Ph.D. candidate and co-chair of GSOC, attended the celebration and feels hopeful about the new benefits in the tentative agreement, including how increases in pay for adjuncts begin with a 34% first-year raise, or an 8% raise for those who make more than minimum rates.

“We’ve heard great things about the 34% raise that’s going to be in this new tentative agreement, and that will change the lives of all of the adjuncts but also the graduate teachers,” Gill said.

Kristen Gonzalez, the Democratic nominee running unopposed to represent District 59 in the New York State Senate, encouraged the crowd to remain involved with unionization efforts on campus.

“This is just the beginning,” Gonzalez said. “We’re going to come back and ask for more from NYU, and we’re not going to stop.”

NYU first-year Brandon Wu, a member of NYU’s YDSA chapter, hopes the win for adjuncts will demonstrate the power that workers hold within and beyond higher education. 

“They put so much effort in and they are the reason why companies run, the country runs — everything happens because of the labor of these people,” Wu said. “This is an example to everyone that we can keep going, we can do this, and you are not alone in this fight.” 

Contact Kayla Hardersen at [email protected]