New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New School student workers begin strike

The New School’s student workers union began a strike Wednesday, continuing its demands for increased compensation and benefits.
Matt Petres
Elijah Blanton, the Interim Chair of SENS-UAW, rallies the picket line in front of The New School building on 72 Fifth Ave. (Matt Petres for WSN)

Dozens of student workers at The New School went on strike outside the university’s Fifth Avenue buildings Wednesday afternoon, following more than six months of what they said were “insulting” bargaining efforts with the university. The union representing the students, SENS-UAW, is demanding higher wages, improved health care benefits, access to childcare funds and improved support for international students.

SENS-UAW — which is a part of the same union representing adjunct faculty at NYU and part-time faculty at The New School — currently represents over 500 academic student workers at The New School, including teaching assistants, research assistants and tutors.

The union filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board in February, accusing The New School of negotiating in “bad faith” and showing no intent to reach a new collective bargaining agreement. This was the third complaint the union filed with the NLRB since contract negotiations began in August 2023.

A group of students hold up various signs and shout as they walk down the line.
(Lianna O’Grady for WSN)

New School spokesperson Amy Malsin told WSN the university’s bargaining team has scheduled sessions with SENS-UAW for March 7 and 8, and said the university has offered the union “significantly enhanced wage increases for all academic student workers, enhanced health care subsidies and other proposed benefits enhancements.”

“Academic student workers aren’t getting enough wage income to live a proper life,” Yoav Landsberg-Lewis, a non-academic student worker at The New School said. “The way that the workers are treated is completely unfair.”

Dozens of students and faculty marched outside of The New School, holding signs with messages such as “pay us!” and “student workers are real workers.” The group was joined by two drummers and a tap dancer. 

A girl in a navy blue “U.A.W.” poncho yells while holding a sign that reads, “Pay us a livin’ wage.”
Anna Tucci, a student at The New School, holds up a sign in solidarity with the union. (Matt Petres for WSN)

SENS-UAW exclusively represents academic student workers, while non-academic student workers, such as tour guides and resident advisers, have been barred from joining by The New School. Last year, hundreds of student workers demanded that The New School consider non-academic student workers as part of the union. 

Other labor groups at The New School have also gone on strike in recent years. In November 2022, the university’s part-time faculty went on a three-week strike, which was considered the longest work stoppage by adjunct faculty in the United States. The strike ultimately culminated in a tentative agreement with the university, which included increases in compensation and pay for work done outside of the classroom. 

“They don’t take their student workers seriously, any worker seriously,” fifth-year Ph.D. student and member of SENS-UAW’s bargaining committee Andy Carr said. “They don’t ever want to extend benefits to what they see as new categories or classes of workers because they’re worried it’s going to set a precedent.”

Contact Matt Petres and Shiphrah Moses at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Matt Petres
Matt Petres, Photo Editor
Matt Petres is a first-year studying Economics. He is from Chicago, Illinois and likes to bike and kayak. You can contact him on Instagram @matt.petres
Shiphrah Moses
Shiphrah Moses, Identity & Equity Editor
Shiphrah Moses is a sophomore studying Dramatic Writing at Tisch. She lives in the Bay Area in California, but is originally from Bangalore, India. She loves writing, acting, music and pretty much anything that involves storytelling. When she’s not doing any of the above, she’s either napping or doing her nails. You can find her at @shiphrahmoses on Instagram or contact her at [email protected].

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