Join our CFU Week of Action, Mon. 3/20 –…

Join our CFU Week of Action, Mon. 3/20 – Fri. 3/24

When I tell my students how far I commute to teach, they say “NYU must be paying you crazy money for that!” No, kids, it’s the other way around. I live way, way out there because, over a decade of teaching here, my salary has fallen further and further behind the cost of living in NYC. And why wouldn’t it? Without a union to leverage our collective power as contract faculty, NYU has had no material incentive to scale our salaries to keep pace with the cost of living.

A majority of contract faculty have signed up to form our union so that we can collectively bargain for salaries that keep pace with the cost of living. We are coming together to unionize because we want to protect and improve employment benefits. We are unionizing to assert and defend academic freedom in a university that fires professors without due process.

NYU’s leadership must now agree to a fair and neutral process for recognizing our union. 

To ensure they do, it’s time for all of us to act! I’ve committed to build our union in my department during CFU’s Week of Action, Monday 3/20 – Friday 3/24, and you can too: 

Be Visible: Starting March 20, hang a CFU poster on your door, and wear your union button every day, all week. Let your colleagues and students see that you’re proud to be part of Contract Faculty United.

Show Up: On Thursday, March 23, 2-4pm, join our informational picket outside Bobst Library demanding a fair process for prompt recognition of our union. Click here and commit to being there!

Teach In: Take 5-10 minutes to talk with your students about our union, and invite them to learn more about CFU and other campus unions at the upcoming Labor Spring Teach-in, Thursday, March 23, at 6 pm.

Join the Movement: On Friday, March 24, 11:30am-1pm, connect with union siblings from across the city to remember the martyrs of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, who died in a building where some of us now work. Click here to commit to standing with the New York labor movement as they continue to stand with us.

A majority of us have been signed up in support of CFU since 2020, and we’ve waited long enough. Let’s show the NYU administration that contract faculty are ready to take action. 

Your colleague,

Ger O’Donoghue

Expository Writing Program, CAS


We got the administration’s attention — we need everyone’s…

We got the administration’s attention — we need everyone’s participation to keep it!

First, a clear majority of NYU contract faculty signed cards saying they want a union.

Then, over 500 of us again, over half signed their names to a petition telling Andy Hamilton that we need raises, job security, and for the administration to respect our right to collective bargaining.

Then, last week, we gathered with supporters from around the campus and the city to tell him even louder: We deserve a fair and expeditious process to recognize our union.

Andy finally heard us and responded. Yesterday we received a letter from him in which he promised a meeting to “consider ways in which we might move forward.” 

But a promise of a meeting isn’t the fair process we need it isn’t even yet a meeting! When we come back from Spring Break, we’ll be making sure that the administration hears us loud and clear. We have to make sure that the administration continues to hear us, and we still need a fair process by which the administration will recognize our union.

Here’s what you can do: Starting March 20, wear your union button every day for a week. Let your colleagues and students see that you’re proud to be part of Contract Faculty United.

Then on Thursday, March 23, from 2-4, we’ll be outside Bobst Library to make sure the administration hears, understands, and recognizes our demand for a fair and expeditious process. Click here to commit to coming to the informational picket!

And on Friday, March 24, from 11:30-1, we’ll be joining with our union siblings from across the city to remember the martyrs of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, and one of us will be speaking about working in the building where it happened. Click here to commit to standing with the New York labor movement as they continue to stand with us.

Last week we invited Brandon Mancilla, the elected representative to the UAW International Executive Board from our region, to our rally. He told us that the 400,000 members of the UAW — including the quarter of them who are academic workers — across the country have our back. Oddly, Andy chose to address his letter to Brandon, rather than any of the more than 500 contract faculty who signed the petition. Maybe Andy thought that by writing to Brandon, he’d circumvent us, the faculty who make NYU’s mission possible. But neither Brandon nor any of us are going to let Andy do this. 

We all of us are our union. A union isn’t an organization we hire it’s an organization we build with our colleagues. The more people we have involved, the more power we have to win a union contract. Come to Bobst Library on Thursday, March 23, to show Andy that the union is us. The more people we have on Thursday, the faster we’ll win a union and a contract.


Save the dates for our week of action after…

Save the dates for our week of action after Spring Break!

We’re still waiting.

Andrew Hamilton said he needed some extra time to decide if he was going to do the right thing and agree to a fair process to recognize our union quickly. We’re now in the middle of the seven-to-ten days he said he needed–which means, of course, that his answer will arrive just in time for campus to empty out for spring break.

We’re still hopeful that Andy will do the right thing, but no matter what, we know we need to hit the ground running when we come back from break. We’ll need to show the NYU administration that we’re united and powerful and committed to building our union no matter what they say.

All week, we’ll all be wearing CFU buttons to work to show our colleagues and our students that we need a union. Will you commit to wearing a button each day the week after Spring Break?

For the same purpose–demonstrating the broad base of support for our union–we’ll be putting up posters with our petition around campus, both on common bulletin boards and on our office doors. Will you commit to putting a poster on your office door?

How will we get buttons and posters to everyone who needs one? Well, that’s where you come in too. Volunteer now to take responsibility for distributing buttons and posters to colleagues in your school or department.

In addition to wearing buttons and hanging posters to demonstrate our support for our union, we have two events planned. Mark your calendars now and plan to join us:

On Thursday, March 23, at 2pm, join us for an informational picket of Bobst Library. In an informational picket, we don’t ask people not to cross the picket line–it isn’t a strike–but it’s a way of demonstrating our strength and making sure that everyone who goes into Bobst knows that NYU contract faculty need a union.

On Friday, March 24 from 11:30 to 1:00, join us for the annual Triangle Fire Memorial Commemoration at Greene Street and Washington Place. On March 25, 1911, 146 workers, mostly young immigrant women, perished when the shirtwaist factory where they worked caught fire and, due to employer malfeasance, they could not escape the flames and smoke. The building where these 146 workers died is now known as the Brown Building, and today it is a workplace for us and other NYU workers. Every year on or near the anniversary, the New York City labor movement joins together for a somber memorial, where we read the names of the victims, lay flowers for them, and hear about current labor struggles. A CFU representative will add our voice to this year’s remembrance. As current workers in the Brown Building, we should be a strong presence at the commemoration–it’s only right. 

Mark your calendar now for these two events, and plan to wear a button the whole week.


Andy asked for an extension on doing the right…

Andy asked for an extension on doing the right thing

On February 22nd, we gave Andrew Hamilton a clear deadline to do the right thing. We told the NYU administration that we expected a response to our petition within seven days. Six days later, they reached out — to ask for an extension:

This was not the response we were waiting for. On Wednesday, March 1st, we returned to Bobst with a few hundred of our closest friends from across our campus and our city to demand, once again, that the NYU administration agree to a fair and expeditious process to verify majority support for our union.

We told the crowd why a majority of contract faculty want to secure our jobs and our profession in an enforceable collective bargaining agreement.

Ahmed Ansari of Tandon spoke about how securing the terms and conditions of our employment in a legally-binding contract would protect academic freedom at NYU, and allow us to negotiate for fair wages, research support, and stronger rights for international faculty. As he and five of his Tandon colleagues told us earlier this week, with a union we can win respect for our expertise and our teaching.

Jacob Remes of Gallatin told Hyperallergic that without a union, contract faculty are “susceptible to arbitrary discipline and firing, which means we don’t have full academic freedom to teach and research our subjects.” 

Our students led the crowd in chants: What do we want? A UNION! When do we want it? NOW! 

While we were disappointed that NYU leadership was unable to meet our deadline, we were heartened to see that we have New York City labor on our side. We were joined by members of Laborer’s Local 79, by the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, UAW Local 2325, by Workers United New York New Jersey Regional Joint Board, and by the New York City Central Labor Council. And that’s not to mention the students, tenure-track colleagues, and members of ACT (adjuncts), GSOC (grad workers) and UCATS (clerical, administrative, and technical workers) who came to support us. Solidarity like this is unstoppable! 

Like us, NYC Comptroller Brad Lander was frustrated with the NYU administration’s lack of response. The administration’s response should have been easy, he pointed out. As he told the crowd, “You should not have to bargain or organize or rally to demand a fair, neutral, non-interfered process!”

Contract faculty have been united on the union question since 2020, and we’ve waited long enough for the NYU administration to respect our democratic decision to bargain collectively. This week, they asked us to keep waiting — but we showed we’ve gotten too big to ignore.

Elisabeth Fay of FAS said she had some “advice to President Hamilton as he continues work on this important midterm project in his last semester at NYU: Make good use of that extra time. Make sure that your response is something that the entire NYU community can be proud of.’”

To win our union, we’re going to need everyone standing together. Now’s your chance to get involved. Here’s three easy things you can do:

    • Pass along the CFU Solidarity Statement to colleagues and students and ask them to sign.
    • Use this template to take a picture of yourself explaining why you want a union and email it to us to use in emails and social media.
    • Wear your CFU button around campus! Respond to this email with the word “button” and we’ll get one to you!
  • Want to do even more? Reply to this email and let us know and we’ll tell you how you can help build the union in your school or department.

Most of these photos are by Alexandra Chan (alexandrachan@nyu.edu  – instagram.com/noelle.png  – twitter.com/vitasoystan)


Unions beyond NYU have our backs!

Unions beyond NYU have our backs!

On Wednesday, February 22, we put Andrew Hamilton and the NYU administration in the spotlight with our petition, signed by a majority of us – over 500 contract faculty from around the university calling on them to do the right thing and agree to a fair process for recognizing our union.

We’ll be waiting for an answer next Wednesday, March 1, at 1pm on Schwartz Plaza. We hope to see you there too.

In the meantime our support continues to grow!

Last week we told you how our circle of public support at NYU has expanded to include other campus unions and groups from ACT adjunct faculty to the grad workers of GSOC to the clerical, administrative, and technical workers of UCATS. They know how collective bargaining has made their NYU jobs better, and they join our call that the administration respect our collective bargaining rights. 

Today we’re turning up the pressure with allies from around the region and the country. Joining the chorus of groups uniting with us in our call for a fair process for recognition are the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) national organization, and AAUP Rutgers. Their letters to President Hamilton and Board Chair William Berkley are testimony that while our union is local, we draw strength from unionized faculty nationally.

Randi Weingarten, the president of AFT, wrote on behalf of 1.7 million educators, school and higher education staff, nurses, healthcare professionals, and public employees around the country: “Full-time contract faculty deserve the same opportunity to have a voice in the workplace that creates meaningful improvements in their own lives and in the communities they are educating.” She told President Hamilton and Board Chair Berkley: “Leave the decision where it belongs-in the hands of contract faculty-and agree on a fair process to verify majority support for the union.”

Irene Mulvey, the national president of the American Association of University Professors told the president and board chair that “the Association promotes collective bargaining to reinforce and secure the principles of academic freedom and tenure, fair workplace procedures, and the economic security of the profession. Moreover, a union can provide all those who teach and conduct research in higher education with an effective voice in decisions that vitally affect its members’ professional well-being.” 

Hamilton and Berkley also got a letter from Rebecca Given, the president of the Rutgers AAUP-AFT affiliate. The more than 5,000 members of Rutgers AAUP-AFT, she wrote, “know that a union and binding contracts we collectively bargain with our employers are the best way to ensure that we have a voice at work and make our jobs better and more secure.”

Just today, Frederick Kowal, the president of United University Professors, wrote to Hamilton and Berkley on behalf of 37,000 professors and professional employees at SUNY across the state. He praised our work to “preserve, protect and defend union rights, working conditions and quality education.” And he told the president and board chair: “It is now your turn to commit to the common good of the students, community and faculty.”

We are grateful to have the support of our fellow faculty from around the nation. We are grateful to have the support of our fellow faculty from around the country as we keep moving forward!

We and our allies will be waiting on Wednesday for an answer from President Hamilton. We’ll join together on Schwartz Plaza to tell the NYU administration: we demand a fair process, and we need a union.


The view from Brooklyn: Why we’re coming together to…

The view from Brooklyn: Why we’re coming together to build our faculty union

All across NYU, contract faculty are coming together to tell the administration that we need a union. 

Coming together is a key phrase. A union is how we come together with our colleagues, because when we collectively bargain we have more power to improve our work lives. What seems like an individual problem or an individual need is transformed into a common problem and a common demand.

Coming together is also what we’re doing across NYU schools. It’s easy to feel like our school or our department is different from all the others, but one of the pleasures of building Contact Faculty United is to learn what our colleagues in other schools need to make their jobs better. 

More often than not, what we find is that what seems to be a unique problem in one department is actually widely felt across the university.

Here at Tandon, we’ve been talking to each other about what we need to make our work lives better, to better do our research, and to better serve our students. When speaking with fellow contract faculty at Tandon, these are some of the reasons people say they want a union: 

  • We’ve heard from several new faculty who came to Tandon from universities where faculty already have a union contract. They say it meant significant, tangible benefits and more negotiating power. 
  • A union would help protect current good working conditions! Some of us who were here before Poly merged with NYU appreciate overall better working conditions now, while also recognising that this is largely dependent on our department chairs. We appreciate these chairs and deans, but we realize that they may leave and be replaced. A union can secure the conditions we appreciate under their direction
  • Our salaries are not keeping up with the cost of living in the New York metropolitan area, and for many of us, affordable housing comes with a burdensome commute. With a union, we could negotiate raises on a predictable schedule based on collective bargaining, not the unpredictable whims of the administration
  • Transparency in negotiating contracts, reappointment and promotion process. A union would negotiate rules and expectations set by a legally binding contract; this makes the process consistent, even as chairs and deans come and go.
  • Substantive representation and a bigger voice in university affairs. Many of us have been asked for our input into decisions that shape our departments, only to have that input completely disregarded. Our expertise in our fields, and as teachers, will only benefit the university overall if we have a real measure of authority over the management of NYU. 
  • Establish a sustainable work-life balance. Currently, some faculty work 12-13 hour days, twice a week. This is hard enough. Add in parenting and a long commute and try managing your life. Weekly hours exceed what contracts stipulate. We have taken on administrative responsibilities that were not part of our contracts: this labor should be part of negotiation, not imposed on us after we’re hired. 
  • Visa support for international faculty. The current policy makes the process more difficult and time-consuming than it has to be. This impedes international research projects and collaboration. It is an instance of an institutional policy that does not benefit the institution. Tandon should have a clear, standard policy where all international faculty are offered the H1B work visa as the default, with a clear path to permanent residency tied to advancement\promotion\experience.  
  • Sabbaticals and\or research leaves. Again: our research benefits the university. Many of us, however, are not granted the sort of ability to carry it out that tenure-track faculty have, whether in the form of startup funds, or research leaves. In addition, many do not have the sort of access to grants and other sources of competitive funding. 

Do these reasons sound familiar to you?

If this is why you want a union, or if you want a union for another reason, please join us in this effort. In the past year, many unions have successfully secured better work conditions and more equitable rights for their constituents, including our adjunct colleagues at Parsons, Barnard, and the grad and adjunct unions at NYU. The more people who participate – a little or a lot – the more the union will be strengthened by representing the interests and concerns of all of us as well as it can!

If you haven’t already, sign the petition calling for the administration to publicly commit to respect our right to collective bargaining, ensure real due process for contract faculty at NYU, including a guaranteed right to grieve termination to a fair and impartial third party, and establish meaningful annual raises that match or exceed the rate of inflation.

In solidarity,

Ahmed Ansari (Technology, Culture and Society)
Ken Cereste (Mathematics)
Joseph Esposito (Mathematics)
Scott Fitzgerald (Integrated Design & Media)
Benedetta Piantella (Technology, Culture and Society)
Vladimir Tsifrinovich (Applied Physics)


We told Andy Hamilton we need a union…

We told Andy Hamilton we need a union, and we’ll be waiting for his reply on March 1!

For six years, NYU contract faculty have been talking to each other about why we need a union. We’ve been comparing notes, signing cards, and building power in our schools and departments. We’ve learned about the cost that job insecurity imposes on us and our students. We’ve shared our struggles to stay afloat when our salaries don’t keep up with the cost of living. And more than half of us have signed cards in support of our union, Contract Faculty United.

Today over 500 of us told the NYU administration:

Respect our right to collectively bargain!

This afternoon, we delivered a petition signed by a clear majority of the contract faculty whose work makes NYU work. We told the NYU administration that we expect them to commit publicly to remaining neutral, to refrain from any effort to influence faculty against unionization, so we can come to an agreement for a fair and expeditious process to verify majority union support.

To keep the process of unionization moving forward, we asked NYU’s president and board of trustees to respond within the week. On Wednesday, March 1, we’ll come together with students, colleagues, and friends from across NYU to celebrate our majority support and call on the NYU administration to agree to a fair process for recognition of our union. 

Join us: Wednesday, March 1, at 1 p.m. at Schwartz Plaza. RSVP here!

In the weeks ahead, it will take all of us to win our union. Join us a week from today to take the next step.


Without A Union Contract, NYU Contract Faculty Lag Behind…

Without A Union Contract, NYU Contract Faculty Lag Behind Peers

Across the city, thousands of faculty have come together this academic year to leverage their collective power and secure their jobs. Non-tenure-track faculty have seen big victories at Barnard, the New School, Fordham, and here at NYU for adjuncts. If you haven’t already, please take a moment to sign our petition urging NYU to respect our right to collective bargaining!

NYU contract faculty are currently not protected by an enforceable union contract, and have no effective mechanism to advocate for ourselves and the value of our work. For years, many of us, including our faculty senators, have been urging action to address widespread salary compression and other inequities in our compensation. The NYU administration has largely disregarded these efforts 

The administration may not be moved by our senators’ arguments, but they are reliably moved to action when other faculty unions win raises that leave us lagging behind our neighbors:

  • In 2017, Barnard contract faculty won a minimum salary of $60K in their first collective bargaining agreement. A few weeks later, the NYU administration announced a $10K increase to our minimum, bringing us from $50K to $60K. 
  • In 2021, Barnard contract faculty were earning a guaranteed minimum salary of $72K and preparing to renegotiate their contract. Our floor went up again, to $70K.
  • In August 2022, BCF-UAW won guaranteed annual increases amounting to a 27% raise and an $89K minimum over the life of the contract. A month later, the NYU administration established new floors of $77K and $84K for associate and full clinical professors in FAS.
  • Last October, NYU adjuncts won substantially higher course minimums through collective bargaining. In December, contract faculty in many NYU schools learned that course overage rates, stagnant for nearly a decade, were increasing to keep pace with adjunct wages.

While it’s nice to catch some positive ripple effects when other faculty unions win big, we never enjoy the full benefits or protections of other people’s collective bargaining agreements:

  • Because ACT-UAW won a 34% raise retroactive to the start of Fall 2022, NYU adjuncts earned $10,400 for a 4-credit course in CAS last semester — meanwhile, many NYU contract faculty teaching course overages earned as little as $6,500 for the same work.

The NYU administration is well aware that a majority of contract faculty want a union, and they would strongly prefer to continue dealing with us as individual employees. By granting these reactive, piecemeal raises, they’re hoping to discourage us from pursuing higher minimums and guaranteed annual increases through collective bargaining. 

Faculty at Barnard, Columbia, Fordham, the New School, and here at NYU have shown us that we can’t just hope for benevolent leadership and passively wait for things to improve. To win recognition for our union, we need to send an unambiguous message to the NYU administration. In the weeks ahead, contract faculty from across campus will come together to amplify our cause — but our union lives or dies in your department, in conversations with your colleagues about how we can take control of our working lives. 

It’s going to be an exciting semester. We’re asking you to start the crucial discussions that will allow us to win the same rights and protections that thousands of NYC faculty have already organized to win. Bring up the union in conversation this week, or forward this email to a colleague and encourage them to sign on to our petition. Each name makes our message more powerful; every conversation increases our collective strength.


The Academic Union Wave

It is never more clear than as the semester ends and we work to bring our classes to a close: our work makes the university work. This time of year, we feel all the more keenly our need for a union.

If you haven’t already, take a moment to add your name to our petition calling on NYU to respect our right to collective bargaining, institute meaningful protections around job security, and guarantee raises that keep pace with cost of living in New York City! 

It’s been an exciting semester for UAW academic workers in New York City and around the country. Here are some highlights: 

  • In August, full-time, non-tenure track Barnard faculty with BCF-UAW ratified their second collective bargaining agreement, locking in guaranteed minimum salary increases amounting to 18% over the life of the contract, and bringing Barnard’s base salary to $89,000 by 2026.
  • Our part-time NYU colleagues of ACT-UAW won a historic agreement in October that includes guaranteed pay for grading and prep work, and brings adjunct faculty compensation to parity with NYU contract faculty minimums by 2026.
  • Just last week, New School part-time faculty with UAW 7902 announced that their three-week strike allowed them to leverage the new standards set by NYU adjuncts and win a tentative agreement that includes substantial salary increases and strengthens benefits and job security. Just like any contract we eventually negotiate, it is solely the choice of the union’s members whether to accept the tentative agreement. 
  • Meanwhile, 48,000 UAW academic workers at the University of California are reviewing tentative agreements, and will vote this week on whether to continue their strike to secure badly-needed increases and job protections for the UC’s lowest-paid academics.

Higher ed is the fastest-growing sector in the UAW, and in a historic vote last month, members in our region elected Brandon Mancilla of Harvard’s HGSU-UAW to represent us in the union’s national leadership. Across the country, workers at academic institutions like ours are forming unions to reclaim power and ensure a guaranteed voice over their working conditions. Just in the past few months, our colleagues at Miami University of Ohio, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Santa Clara University, and Skidmore College won their unions. Indeed, this year’s six biggest elections for new unions in the country have all been at universities.

Do you want to ride this wave of academic unionization?

We’re excited to move forward with our own campaign. The coming semester is crucial for us, and we need your help to make the most of the momentum that our colleagues around the city and the country have built. Now is the time to get involved.  If you’ve already signed the petition, why not take the next step? Respond to this email to say you’re ready to get more involved in talking to your colleagues about why we need a union.


Adjunct Union Victory Shows When We Fight We Win

As you may have already seen, there will be no adjunct strike. At 3:30 am Tuesday morning, three and a half hours after their contract expired, our adjunct colleagues wrested a tentative agreement from the NYU administration. As with any contract we will eventually negotiate, the decision of whether to accept this offer is solely in the hands of the members of ACT-UAW, and we expect our part-time colleagues will be reading the contract, meeting to talk about it among themselves, and voting whether to ratify it soon.

All indications are that this is a very strong contract. Our part-time sisters and brothers have won important victories on health care, pay, job security, and recognition of their work outside the classroom. Among the highlights: the minimum base pay for a four-credit course will go from $6,258.50 to $10,400, which will increase to $13,000 by the end of the contract; adjuncts will be paid for the prep work they put into a class if it is canceled before it runs; and for the first time the university will contribute significantly to dependents’ health insurance. 

As with the contract Barnard full- and part-time non-tenure track professors won earlier this year, NYU adjuncts’ victory shows that when academic workers stand together and fight, we win big.

In October, NYU adjuncts voted overwhelmingly—95% of a turnout of 72% of the union—to authorize a strike. This vote came after months of internal organizing. Our adjunct colleagues built a strong union with active members from every school and department across the university. They would never have won a contract without this hard work. It was the strong, active membership and the strong, credible threat of a strike that won this tentative agreement.

We’re inspired, and hope you are too. Will you take this moment to commit to help build your union, Contract Faculty United-UAW? If we all work together, it won’t be long before we, too, are celebrating a union contract.

Click here to tell the administration that NYU contract faculty deserve the financial and job security of a collective bargaining agreement!

But don’t stop there. After you’ve signed, talk to two or three of your colleagues and make sure they sign. Talking to our colleagues is the most important thing we can do to build our union and win a victory like the adjuncts did.

Then, let’s celebrate. This Friday at 2:00, join us and the rest of the NYU community on Schwartz Plaza as we celebrate the adjuncts’ win and tell the administration we’re coming for our own.