What a semester it’s been! We’ve made sure the whole university community knows we want a union, and that we demand a fair election process to verify our majority support.
Our pressure campaign brought the NYU administration to the table, and our continued action has held them accountable and forced them to engage. For the past several weeks, we’ve been meeting with administration representatives and their lawyers trying to agree on the “bargaining unit” — that is, on who should get to vote in an election to decide the union question, and, even more importantly, who should be covered by our eventual union contract. We’re not there yet, but we’re getting closer.
The lawyers we’re talking to claim to represent “the university,” but we know better. They may represent the administration, but it is the faculty, staff, and students who make up NYU. Indeed, the lawyers still don’t seem to understand how the university they claim to represent works. One major sticking point is the inclusion of contract faculty in the Rory Meyers College of Nursing. The administration’s lawyers claim that their jobs are totally different from everyone else’s — despite the fact that multiple CFU members in Nursing have explained, at length, that they do the same work as the rest of us: teaching, research, advising, and (too much) service.
Perhaps most tellingly, the administration and its lawyers want contract faculty who accept additional administrative or service work to be excluded from our bargaining unit, on the grounds that their titles make their jobs meaningfully different. We know better: contract faculty don’t stop being contract faculty when they agree to take on the essential extra work that allows our schools, programs and departments to function. We all deserve the protections of a collectively-bargained contract, and nothing prevents the NYU administration from recognizing all of us.
Unlike the lawyers, we know how the university works. We’ve spent a lot of time explaining NYU to its own highly paid lawyers, but we’ve learned that they are much more easily persuaded by our public displays of power: every action we’ve staged over the past few months has led them to move. We can’t let up now, and we can’t accept a deal that unfairly carves out our nurse colleagues or our colleagues who have taken on additional administrative or service roles.
So we’re doing what we’ve done all semester: coming together with our colleagues to show our power as the workers who make NYU possible.
This coming May Day — Monday, May 1 — we’ll be joining with workers across campus and with our colleagues from the New School to remind our respective administrations: it is students, staff, and faculty who make up our universities, and it is our work that makes NYU and the New School work.