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 reach agreement, end strike

The union representing student workers at The New School reached a three-year contract with the university following months of demands for improved health care benefits and higher wages.
Matt Petres
A student at the SENS-UAW picket line on March 6, 2024. (Matt Petres for WSN)

The union representing over 500 student workers at The New School reached a verbal tentative agreement with the university following a bargaining session Friday, ending the group’s three-day-long strike. The three-year-long contract for the union, SENS-UAW, includes improved health care benefits and higher compensation.

New School spokesperson Amy Malsin told WSN that union leadership will now recommend the agreement to its members, who will then vote on whether to ratify it. The union’s new contract includes 25% in wage increases for all categories of workers, as well as protections for international students and an 80% discount on health care for all Ph.D. students. 

“We want to share our sincere gratitude to the members of both the union and university bargaining teams for their dedication and tireless work,” Malsin said. “Now, together, we can return to our mission of teaching, learning, creating and supporting our students.”

The strike came after six months of what union members called “insulting” bargaining efforts with the university. SENS-UAW — which is part of the same union representing adjunct faculty at NYU and part-time faculty at The New School — verbally agreed to call off the strike on March 8 after negotiating health care benefits, the length of the contract agreement and compensation for the time that the contract was under negotiation.

Prior to reaching the tentative agreement, the union removed a proposal that would have ensured access to dental health care. The verbal agreement also included a clause allowing The New School to pursue “disciplinary action, including discharge” if the union chooses to “call, instigate, engage or participate in” strikes or work stoppages, the New School Free Press reported. The same clause is included in The New School’s contract with part-time faculty, who went on strike for three weeks in 2022.

Malsin had told WSN that The New School’s bargaining team was planning on meeting with SENS-UAW on March 7 and 8. The union had previously accused the university of negotiating in “bad faith,” or without intending to reach an agreement in a complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board. The complaint was the third the union had filed with the independent federal agency since August 2023. 

Emily Li, a member of the group representing non-academic workers at The New School, said that although the agreement is a step forward for academic student workers, the university has still not recognized non-academic student workers — such as tour guides and resident advisers — as part of SENS-UAW. Last year, hundreds of student workers demanded that The New School include non-academic student workers, who are currently represented by the New Student Workers Union, in SENS-UAW. 

“This is a historic contract for academic student workers with some huge, progressive wins that have never been seen in contracts before, such as protections for international students, childcare and gender-affirming care,” Li said. “We’re hoping to use some of this momentum to build a stronger case for one big union, between SENS and NewSWU, to truly make up and fight for all student workers at The New School.”

Contact Adrianna Nehme and Bruna Horvath at [email protected]

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About the Contributors
Adrianna Nehme
Adrianna Nehme, News Editor
Adrianna Nehme is a sophomore still trying to decide what to major in. Originally from a small town in Indiana, she moved to Chicago, Illinois for high school — where she was also the news editor for the school paper! She loves experiencing music live at concerts, seeking restaurants to try in the city and reading fiction novels — her all-time favorite is "The Cider House Rules" by John Irving. Check out her latest adventures on Instagram @adrianna.nehme.
Bruna Horvath
Bruna Horvath, News Editor
Bruna Horvath is a sophomore studying journalism and English at CAS. When she’s not a News Editor, she’s a "Gone Girl" enthusiast, a Goodreads lover, and a Barnes & Noble frequenter. You can usually find her ordering an iced mocha, telling people her name is “Bruna” not “Bruno,” or on Instagram @brunaahorvath.
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

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