Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Corrections to the NY Times

Thanks, Mark, for dropping this NY Times link in our comments section regarding Sexton's latest announcement. To correct a couple of the article's factual inaccuracies:

1) "They were represented by the United Automobile Workers until August, when the university took advantage of a change in policy by the National Labor Relations Board, which said private universities no longer had to permit graduate students to unionize."

NYU GAs have been represented by GSOC/Local 2110, UAW since an NLRB-supervised union election on November 16, 2000, and continue to be up to this day (evidence picketers wearing very large "UAW on Strike" signs around their necks). It is NYU who refuses currently to recognize this representation.

2) "Graduate students who lose their stipends of at least $19,000 a year will be eligible for loans if needed and will continue to receive free tuition and health benefits."

While I'll resist my urge to parody Dean Stimpson by referring to the OED definition of "free," I think we can all agree that it usually signifies, in the colloquial sense, something for nothing. To clarify, our fellowships stipulate that we must work as TAs or RAs for 3 of the 5 years awarded (this length of time may vary by department), so I would hardly call our benefits "free" since we exchange our labor in return for our funding.

Strike or no strike, I have given my labor to NYU in the past, and hope to continue giving it in the future. The university, therefore, has not given me something for nothing. Our benefits are part of our larger fellowship packages, which do not break down on a year-by-year, semester-by-semester basis, but extend the duration of our 5 funded years. Do we say that teachers get "free" salaries and "free" health insurance over the summer when they don't work in the classroom, but still receive paychecks and benefits? Hardly. The word "free" adds nothing to this journalistic report, other than an uncritical regurgitation of the university's rhetoric.

1 Comments:

Blogger specter of marx said...

Addendum:

Not all GAs receive tuition remission from NYU -- only those still in coursework. A small yet significant overlooked fact.

11/30/2005 9:49 PM  

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