Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Where to Get Your TWU Picket On

Thanks to eg for the tip, here's a listing of TWU picket lines across the city:

TWU Local 100 Strike Assignments
Friday, December 16, 2005

THE BRONX

180th Street Yard: 1151 East 180 Street
239th St. Barn: 4570 Furman Avenue
240th St. Barn: 5911 Broadway
241st St. White Plains Road. (RTO)
242nd St. Yard
Concourse Yard: 3119 Jerome Avenue
Dyer Avenue
Eastchester Depot: Interstate 95 at Exit 13
Gunhill Depot: 1910 Bartow Avenue
Jerome Yard: Jerome Ave. & Van Courtlandt Ave.
Parkchester (RTO)
Pelham Barn/Westchester Sq. Yard: Eastchester Rd. & Water Street
Tiffany Iron: 1170 Oakpoint Avenue
West Farms Depot: 1100 East 177th Street
Woodlawn 1 & 9 Lines (RTO)
Yonkers Depot: 59 Babcock St.
Zerega CMF: 750 Zerega Avenue

BROOKLYN

370 Jay St./130 Livingston
Atlantic Ave/Bergen Street Shop: 1415 Bergen Street
Bedford
Bergen St. Shop
Coney Island Yard: Avenue X & McDonald
Conway
Cozine: 50 Cozine Avenue
Crosstown-Box St.
East New York Depot/Shop: 1700 Bushwick Avenue
Flatbush Ave / Nostrand (RTO)
Flatbush Depot: Flatbush & Utica Ave.
Jackie Gleason Depot: 871 Fifth Avenue
Linden Shop: 1500 Linden Blvd.
Livonia Shop: 824 Linwood Shop
Pitkin Yard: 1434 Sutter Avenue
Rockaway Parkway Carnarsie L-line
Stillwell Ave.
Ulmer Park Depot: Cropsey Ave. & Bay

QUEENS

71st & Continental G,R & V lines (RTO)
179th St. F-line (RTO)
College Point Depot: 128-15 28th Avenue
Corona Barn: 126-53 Willets Point Blvd.
Ditmars Blvd. N & W lines (RTO)
Fresh Pond Depot: 56-99 Fresh Pond Road
Jamaica Barn: 7815 Grand Central Parkway
Jamaica Depot: 114-15 Guy R. Brewer Blvd.
Main St. 7-line (RTO)
Maspeth CMF:
Parsons / Archer E & J lines (RTO)
Triboro Coach Depot: 8501 24th Avenue
Woodside Electronic Shop: 33-33 54th Street

MANHATTAN

34th St. - Penn Station *
100th Street Depot: 1552 Lexington Avenue at 100th Street
126th Street Depot: 2460 Second Avenue
148th St. Lenox Ave.
168th St. C Line
207th St. Yard: 3961 10 Avenue
Chambers St. Flagging Quarters (RTO)
Grand Central Station (RTO)
Kingsbridge Depot: 4065 10th Avenue
Manhattanville Depot: 666 West 133rd St.
Michael J. Quill Depot: 525 11th Avenue
West 53rd St Power/RCC: 53rd St. btw 8/9

TWU Strikes, Nerds Hoof It

At 3am this morning, Roger Toussaint, president of Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union, announced that New York City transit workers would strike for a fair contract. Toussaint said,
We call on all good-willed New Yorkers, the labor community, and all working people to recognize that our strike is their fight and to rally in our support with activities and events in solidarity, and to show the M.T.A. the T.W.U. does not stand alone.
Nerds on strike will hoof it around town in solidarity (alas, even if that means trekking across the Brooklyn Bridge). No doubt Nerds will be spotted on transit workers' picket lines across the city as well. All good wishes to the TWU in their fight. Union power!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Rethinking the Definition of Progressive

Thanks to NYU Inc., we got the tip that New York Magazine has a small piece online about the Film School's "networking crisis" stemming from the graduate employee strike. For more details on the Cinematographer Guild's letter of solidarity, which effectively severed its relationship with the Film School until NYU recognizes GSOC, see our previous post.

Here's what John Amman, the Guild's rep, had to say to New York:
"We’re not doing this to punish the students. But not doing it would be the equivalent of crossing the graduate students’ picket lines,” which his group—many of whose members graduated from Tisch—feels obligated to support. “NYU is known as a progressive organization, which is why this is such a great shock. When they no longer recognize the graduate students, it’s caused us to rethink the definition of progressive.”
We're with you on that one, Mr. Amman! It seems to us that NYU's union busting is not only not progressive, but utterly regressive. In solidarity.

Memo from DGSs to Dean Stimpson

12 December 2005

To: GSAS Dean Catharine Stimpson

From: Directors of Graduate Studies (see attached list)

Re: Questions regarding the execution of the stipend-suspension policy for striking students

1. When a student is penalized stipend support, is this effectively a suspension (so that they can receive support in later years, e.g. the 6th or 7th year of study, after the period of ineligibility expires), or is it effectively a fine, withdrawing one or more of the promised semesters of MacCracken support?

2. If the proposed penalties for striking reduce the total number of semesters of stipend support promised to MacCracken fellows, does this constitute a violation of the MacCracken offer letters, which the university now regards as an enforceable contract with students? How should DGSs respond to student inquiries on this point?

3. If students are penalized stipend support, does the funding thus penalized revert to the department's portfolio of unused semesters?

4. If students are penalized semesters of stipend support and those semesters do not revert to the departmental portfolio, then the department effectively loses some of its funding towards teaching. How will that be replaced?

5. If students are penalized semesters of stipend support and those semesters do revert to the departmental portfolio, can these be assigned, like any other 'saved' support in the portfolio, to whatever student the department wishes?

6. How can the department determine whether a penalized semester counts as a fellowship semester or a TAship semester with respect to management of its portfolio and teaching requirements?

7. If students are declared ineligible for stipend under the Sexton policy, how can they fulfill the terms of their MacCracken obligation to teach a specified number of semesters? Does penalization of a semester of teaching, for example, simply reduce the number of semesters that a student is obligated to teach under the MacCracken program?

8. If, due to declaration of ineligibility, students are unable to fulfill their MacCracken obligation to teach a specified number of semesters, what happens to their non-teaching (fellowship) semesters? Will they be further penalized by a reduction in fellowship semesters due to having failed to fulfill their teaching semesters?

9. Students who intend to do fieldwork abroad (often in the fourth or fifth year) often attempt to schedule their teaching semesters so as to have a fellowship year available during the time spent away. How will this be dealt with if a student has been declared ineligible to teach at an earlier period? If this means they have an unfulfilled teaching obligation under the MacCracken program that needs to be fulfilled during the remaining years of support, are they thereby precluded from doing fieldwork?

10. Can students who cannot afford to continue studies while under stipend suspension take leaves of absence, and resume studies and MacCracken support when their period of ineligibility to teach has expired?

11. How does the administration intend to treat students with blended support, consisting of an outside funding source (such as Fulbright or a fellowship from their home-country government) plus a top-up to the MacCracken level? Presumably it cannot suspend the outside fellowship, but if it suspends only the MacCracken top-up portion, does that not violate the stated policy, which has been communicated to the outside funding agencies, that every student will minimally receive support to the MacCracken level? How should DGSs communicate this policy to existing and prospective incoming students with outside support?

12. A number of graduate students who are not on strike have indicated that they are unwilling to serve as replacement labor by taking over TA/GA assignments next semester that would otherwise have been assigned to students who have been suspended from teaching. Does the administration expect departments to force these students to take such assignments? By what means?

13. If nonstriking students refuse assignments that would otherwise have been the duty of suspended students, but are willing to do their normal assignments, will the President and the ULT consider them to be on strike? If so, since this will occur after the President's deadline, will the penalty therefore be loss of a year's stipend? (If so, what guidelines can the administration provide to DGSs to explain this, given that a continuing striker faces only the loss of a semester's support, while a nonstriking student who refuses a replacement assignment loses a full year's support?)

14. Given that students are at all different points in the use of their TA semesters of support vs. fellowship semesters, how can a student who loses their stipend for strike activity know whether they are losing a TAship semester or a fellowship semester, and how to calculate their remaining teaching obligation?

15. Given that the procedures announced in the letters from the President and the Provost are new, do not conform to prior established practice, will rely on ad hoc methods for establishing which students are to be subjected to penalty, and lack an adjudicative mechanism or appeal procedure, does the administration anticipate lawsuits from students whose stipends are suspended and careers are hindered? If so, are DGSs and department chairs likely to be named in such lawsuits if they participate in the execution of this policy?

16. What procedural guidelines will the administration provide to DGSs and Chairs to ensure that they will not be liable to student lawsuits for participation in this policy? What defence and insurance will the administration provide to DGSs and Chairs against any liability that may arise through their participation in the execution of this policy?

17. President Sexton's policy specifies that in the Spring '06 term, any TA/GA absences "not approved by the dean" will result in the loss of two semesters' eligibility for teaching assignments (and stipends). How will students apply for permission to be absent? To which dean? Must they apply in advance? If so, how far in advance?

18. What sorts of absences will be approved under this policy, and by what criteria will permission to be absent be granted or denied? What recourse (that is, what grievance or appeal procedure) will TA/ GAs or faculty have if they believe that permission was unfairly denied?

19. How will the absence approval policy treat medical or family emergencies? Are students liable to loss of stipend if they miss a class due to transportation problems, oversleeping, etc.? If a student misses only part of a class (e.g. arrives late), will this count as a penalizable absence?

20. Does the absence policy apply only to attendance in classes for which the TA/GA is the instructor (e.g. recitation sections), or does it apply to other TA/GA work as well, such as marking, attending lectures taught by the professor in the course, holding office hours, etc.? How is 'absence' to be assessed and monitored in such cases? Must students apply for decanal approval in order to vary their time of performance of such duties?

21. Are students who are penalized by loss of stipends still subject to the usual MacCracken limitations on outside work? Is it legal for the university to restrict a student's outside work if they are not receiving a stipend and have been declared ineligible to do their principle on-campus work as a TA/GA?

22. Can a student who is penalized by loss of stipend take outside work and decline further stipends under the MacCracken program beyond the semesters for which they have been declared ineligible? If so, will they retain tuition exemption and medical insurance coverage?

Gregory R. Guy
DGS, Linguistics

Richard Allen, Cinema Studies
John Archer, English
Herrick Chapman, French Studies
Suzanne Cuzick, Music
Hartry Field, Philosophy
Adam P. Green, Social and Cultural Analysis
Martha Hodes, History
Michelle Lowrie, Poetics and Theory

Friday, December 16, 2005

GEW Supports GSOC

We've learned via NYU Inc. that GEW, Germany's Union for Science and Education, stands in solidarity with GSOC. Here's their letter of support:
2005/12/07

To: GSOC/UAW
113 University Place
5th floor
New York, NY 10003
fax: (001) 212.228.0198
gsoc@2110uaw.org

The GEW, Union for Science and Education, represents Germany’s faculty, graduate employees, school teachers, and other professionals in schools and universities nationwide. For many years, GEW has been sucessfully representing graduate employees in German universities.

The members of GEW regard you as their colleagues. GEW supports your right to form a union to bargain over your working conditions. You provide services in teaching and research and are to be considered as having the same rights as any other employees. Therefore, the right to bargain over your working conditions as a union must not be denied to you.

The GEW stands in solidarity with you and encourages you to keep fighting. We most strongly condemn the use of threats against you. Know that you have support from around the world and that the GEW is pulling for you from Germany.

We will write as soon as possible to John Sexton and to the NLRB expressing our views.

For the GEW NRW / Department Universities and Research

Sibylle Schwantag

Fachreferentin fuer Musik, Medienwissenschaft, Romanistik
Universitaetsbibliothek Siegen

57068 Siegen
Germany
sw@ub.uni-siegen.de
Phone +49/271/740-4285
Fax +49/271/740-4278

College Art Association Supports GSOC

From ARTNET NEWS:
COLLEGE ART ASSOCIATION SUPPORTS NYU STRIKE
The College Art Association has come out in solidarity with the striking Graduate Student Organizing Committee at New York University. The CAA's strongly worded statement on collective bargaining rights for graduate students, drafted by Yale University's Robert S. Slifkin and adopted by the organization's 13,000 members on Feb. 18, 2005, condemns the Bush Administration-controlled National Labor Relations Board decision that graduate students cannot legally organize (overturning a previous, Clinton-era ruling). The board is "woefully out of touch with contemporary academic reality," according to the CAA statement, in its view of "the academic world as somehow removed from the economic realm that labor law addresses." For further details, see www.collegeart.org

GSOC has been on strike since Nov. 9, 2005, putting the group at the forefront of a national movement for educational accountability. As the committee of liberal faculty at NYU, Faculty Democracy, noted, most of the tactics that NYU president John Sexton has attempted to use to break the strike would be forbidden if grad students were legally recognized as a union.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

NYU Grad Employees, Submit Your Story

A group called American Rights at Work -- whose mission is to advance democracy in the American workplace -- is collecting employment stories. Here's the deal:
We want to hear stories from workers all over the country. We want you to tell us—and the American public—about your experiences at work: the good and the bad. Please submit your story below and tell us how we may use your story.
Click here to submit your story, and to let others around the country know your first-hand experience with NYU's ugly union-busting campaign.

(We got this link via e-mail. Thanks for the tip, you know who you are, and keep 'em comin'!)

Westheimer to Sexton: NYU's Reputation at Stake

A letter from Joel Westheimer -- former NYU faculty member, current professor at University of Ottawa and co-director of Democratic Dialogue -- to John Sexton:
December 7, 2005

Dear President Sexton,

I am writing to express my concern about the NYU administration's refusal to negotiate a contract or even recognize the democratically elected graduate student union. As the students' strike continues into week four and as faculty from around the country and the world are becoming aware of the situation at NYU, it seems difficult to even imagine the lasting damage your administration's intransigence is causing to the NYU community. I can think of at least three kinds of consequences that will come from your refusal to recognize a democratically elected union of graduate student employees.

First and foremost, the recent threat to withhold scholarship funding from any graduate students who are on strike -- a practice that is not only unethical but illegal for any employees under US labor law -- belies a frightening disregard for the most basic ideals of a liberal education. Ideals of democracy and freedom that should be an essential part of a university education can not possibly be taken seriously when the university administration demonstrates disdain for the very principles the academy purports to promote. Alleged invasion of privacy undertaken by the university administration when eavesdropping on professor-student dialogues through the Blackboard software further reinforce the impression that NYU is becoming a dark and suspicious place to work and study. The consequence of these actions are far-reaching when education is concerned. Both students and faculty become afraid to openly express views -- not only political, but critical views of all sorts. Under these conditions, NYU starts to look less like a place of free exchange of ideas and more like a Hobbesian Leviathan, a place where students and faculty alike are fearful and disengaged. This is a sad and wholly preventable result of the administration's poor comportment during the current strike.

Second, I know of many many faculty who are now unwilling to recommend graduate study at NYU to prospective students until the NYU administration learns to refrain from retaliation against those students who participate in political activities of their choosing including the graduate student strike. This will mean a decline in some of the best applicants to NYU graduate programs. Indeed, colleagues from universities around the world are expressing their dismay at NYU's treatment of graduate students by signing the on-line petition sponsored by the NYU faculty group, Faculty Democracy. When I last checked, there were more than 5,400 signers.

Third, a growing number of faculty in North America will now alert any graduating Ph.D. students and other prospective faculty hires to the current crisis at NYU. The American Association of University Professors has already "deplore[d] the threat of retaliatory actions against striking graduate employees." This will place a disconcerting chill on hiring efforts across every department in the university. Those prospective hires who prefer not to work in an environment of open hostility to graduate student employees and to the most basic principles of academic freedom and faculty governance will opt-out before the process begins. Since those include many of the most renowned faculty in the country, NYU will suffer.

I certainly will not feel comfortable recommending NYU to either students or prospective faculty members until the NYU administration lives up to the ideals of academic, intellectual, and moral integrity that the graduate students and groups like Faculty Democracy rightly demand. I urge you to carefully consider these consequences for the entire NYU community and to both recognize and negotiate in good faith with the graduate students' democratically elected union. Those of us committed to the pursuit of social justice beyond the walls of academe must also be committed to ensuring fair treatment for all those who work within.


Sincerely,

Joel Westheimer, Professor
University Research Chair in Democracy and Education
Co-Director, Democratic Dialogue
University of Ottawa
(613)562-5800, x4161; joel.westheimer@uottawa.ca
www.democraticdialogue.com

Monday, December 12, 2005

GSOC's got the "law" on its side

A letter to the NYU Law School community from Law/Grad Solidarity:
As you know, the grad students on campus are on strike. This strike is not just about wages, health care, or working conditions. It is about the right to collectively bargain and obtain mutually binding agreements. The administration refuses to recognize the union (GSOC) and refuses to come to the bargaining table. The administration has recently threatened the striking workers with loss of their stipends. One of the most important pieces of leverage that law students have is substantial salaries immediately following graduation. Given the steps Sexton is taking, we think it is vitally important to make it clear to him that there will be retaliation where it hurts.

We are asking all law students to take a few minutes out of their day to send Sexton a letter explaining that you will not make any donations to NYU as long as they refuse to negotiate with GSOC. While this is an important sign of support from all law students, it will carry extra weight coming from 3Ls who already have firm jobs. If you have accepted a job with a law firm, please include the name of the firm in your letter. To make this process as painless as possible, we have attached a sample letter.

It is also important to have as many alumni as possible join in this effort. If you have any friends who have graduated in recent years, please contact them and encourage them to do the same.

Please send the letters to
John Sexton
President NYU
Bobst 1216
70 Wash Sq South
NyC NY 10012
NYU mail code 1383

Or email at:
john.sexton@nyu.edu

Please CC Dean Revesz at

New York University School of Law
40 Washington Square South, 406D
New York, NY 10012

or at
richard.revesz@nyu.edu

Sincerely,
Law/Grad Solidarity
We hear similar letters have been sent to NYU Law alumni. Thanks, Law/Grad Solidarity! As former Dean of the Law School, President Sexton will appreciate the gravity of pledges from students/alum refusing to donate.

RIP "Community" at NYU

Following up on derelict daughter's previous post, which reported that NYU Mail Services employees were forbidden to honk in solidarity as they drove past the GSOC picket line, it has come to our attention that NYU security guards have been warned not to acknowledge striking GSOC members on campus grounds. That means, no hellos, no waving, no smiles, and for goodness sakes, no thumbs up! This upsets me greatly, for 2 main reasons:

1) NYU security guards are union members themselves. By and large, they support our cause. A sense of solidarity runs deep among union members, across unions. This order essentially forbids security guards from expressing their politics, and their personal opinions, while on duty. Workers are people too, you know, which brings me to my second point...

2) NYU security guards are our friends. Students and guards alike spend the majority of our waking hours on campus. We pass each other every day, often numerous times throughout the day. As a result, many of us have developed meaningful friendships with one another. How can you honestly forbid people, on duty or off, from acknowledging their friends and neighbors?

This order flies in the face of civility, and stamps out any semblance of community left at NYU. President Sexton is dismantling community brick by brick, and he's finally down to the foundation. How much further will he go?

Cinematographers in Solidarity

GSOC is reporting that the Cinematographers Guild, IATSE Local 600, announced it has severed ties with NYU Film School until GSOC is recognized by NYU. Here's the official e-mail:
To whom it may concern:

I wish to inform you that the Cinematograhpers Guild, IATSE Local 600 has severed its relations with the NYU film program. In the past members of our guild regularly lectured at the Film School, served on panels and invited faculty and students to out seminars. I have informed Jeremiah Newton at the film school that we can no longer be involved with NYU when the university refuses to recognize GSOC/Local 2110 UAW.

We wish you all the best in your efforts.

John Amman
Business Representative
Cinematograhpers Guild, IATSE Local 600
Thank you John Amman and the rest of IATSE Local 600! In solidarity.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Welcome Wagon

Come to the picket line early Monday morning! NYU trustees will be meeting with President Sexton on campus all day, and striking GSOCers will be there to greet them at 8:30am. Coffee, bagels, and assorted pastries will be served, as always.

Coke Goes, GSOC Stays

Have you heard the good news??? Undergrad activists have successfully fought to ban Coke products on campus in protest of the bottler's horrendous labor and environmental abuses in Colombia and India. For more info on this watershed victory, check out NYU Inc.'s report. A hearty congrats to each and every undergrad who worked tenaciously on NYU's Killer Coke campaign! Excellent work.

There will be a press conference at noon tomorrow -- Monday, Dec. 12 -- in front of Bobst to announce NYU's Coke boycott. City Councilmember Hiram Monserrate will speak, and his message to NYU will be, "Coke goes, GSOC stays!" Extending its support to end labor abuses and union busting abroad, NYU now needs to clean up its own anti-labor acitvities on campus. No more Coke, no more hypocrisy.

Holy Hipster Cred!

I can't believe we missed this -- coverage in L Magazine's blog, "the local," last Monday. You're gonna have to scroll all the way down to find the post since we're so late on this one (heh, sorry). Thanks for helping us set the record straight, L!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Lafer: "GSOC is Winning"

To follow up on the last post, Gordon Lafer has published another Op-Ed on the strike, this time in the Washington Square News. The title alone should compel you to read it: "Why GSOC is winning." But if that's enough, joel schlemowitz has pointed out in our comments section that the article's feedback interestingly addresses the etymology of "Draconian." Don't miss it! (And be sure to catch the Lafer/Mussolini comparison while you're at it.)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

NYU is Teaching Cynicism

Thanks to Zach for the tip on this editorial is Newsday by labor historian Gordon Lafer. The title? "NYU is teaching cynicism." Here's a snippet:
Union busting is a sleazy practice in any industry. But in a university, it takes a further toll. It undermines the very integrity of intellectual life that draws people to academia in the first place. There is still time for NYU to reverse course and do the right thing. It is for all of us - particularly New York taxpayers who subsidize the tax-exempt university - to insist that it do so.
NYU gets more than just tax-exempt subsidies from the government; it was recently granted $8.5 million in state aid as well. Cynical me thinks this is what's called "corporate welfare."

One Last Absurdity

Following up on a previous post about ridiculous comments made by the administration in regards to the union, I think this additional tid-bit takes the cake. In truth, it surpasses absurd and moves well into the realm of scary. From Lame Punk Slogan a few weeks ago:
This anecdote comes from the minutes of yesterday’s meeting between NYU President John Sexton and Faculty Democracy, a group of pro-labor NYU faculty members. This particular exchange occurs between Sexton and Adam Green, a current professor of mine:

"At some point, responding to our questions about reprisals [against striking students], Sexton said that he had recently taught “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” implicitly invoking this as an example of how one must be prepared to take the consequences of political action. Adam Green introduced himself, both as a recently tenured member of the faculty and as the son of Ernest S. Green, one of the group of nine students who integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957. Adam asked Sexton to consider the ways he had implicitly aligned the administration with Bull Connor and the Birmingham authorities who jailed King."

No response from Sexton is noted.
I'd like to think that invoking MLK and the battle for desegregation was a rhetorical mistake on Sexton's part. Nonetheless, his statement here was and remains horrifically absurd.

Proposals rolling in from all parties now...

A proposal that had been circulated by some graduate students in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese -- the content of which was formerly posted here -- has been officially withdrawn.

FAS Faculty: Suspend Sanctions Now

Latest admin memo:
December 8, 2005

TO: GSAS Students
FROM: Catharine R. Stimpson, Dean
RE: FAS Sense of the Meeting Resolution of 12/6/2005

Professors Glennys Farrar, Steven Lukes, Anthony Movshon, and Tim Reiss have asked me to circulate to all GSAS students the sense of the meeting resolution that was discussed at the Faculty of Arts and Science meeting on Monday, December 6, and passed by a vote of 129 in favor, 33 against, with 11 abstentions.

“We, the FAS faculty, believe that the policies proposed by President Sexton and Provost McLaughlin which call for the withdrawal of the stipends of striking graduate students and the denial of their eligibility to teach are unwise and represent disproportionate penalties for participation in a labor dispute. The FAS faculty calls upon the administration to suspend these sanctions immediately, to provide a reasonable period for the parties to the dispute to seek a solution. We also call upon the striking graduate students simultaneously to suspend their strike while discussions proceed.”

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Yet another proposal...

To the NYU Community

7th December 2005

Dear Colleagues,

A Proposal for Resolution

The proposal put forward by the Graduate Affairs Committee earlier this week marked a useful step in the process of resolving the current dispute, but, rightly or wrongly, it has been greeted with some skepticism by sections of the graduate student and faculty communities. We write to you to outline a development of that proposal that may move forward the process of resolution.

We would suggest that the idea of a new structure of graduate student representation is liable to draw widespread support in the current situation if two broad provisions are put in place – provisions that are designed to guarantee that the new organization will be properly representative and will be able to be effective in its dealings with the University Administration.

Provision A
We propose that a new Graduate Assistant representation body be created. The function of this new body – which will be elected, and which will be distinct from the current Graduate Affairs Committee – will be to develop with the university the terms and conditions of graduate student employment. In order to ensure that this body is as representative and as broadly-based as possible, we propose that an individual from outside the university, about whose integrity and bona fides all sides can agree, be invited to advise in the design of the processes by which the new representative body will be elected.

Provision B
If the idea for a proposed new body is accepted by a significant segment of the graduate-assistant community, we would ask that the University agree to the following three substantive conditions and give its guarantee that these conditions will be structural features of its dealings with the new representative body. In addition to these three structural guarantees, we propose that the University accept and guarantee a fourth condition relating to the treatment of graduate assistants who are taking part in the current strike action.


Resolution of economic grievances. In cases involving economic matters, where a graduate assistant has pursued a grievance through the University’s internal dispute process and is dissatisfied with the Provost’s decision, he or she will have the right to a hearing before a member of an external panel previously constituted for that purpose. The panel will consist of five members, each of whom will be academics from outside of NYU, and will be a standing group appointed by mutual agreement of the University Administration and the new graduate assistant representative body. The same protections of the University’s academic decision-making which were contained in the previous union agreement will apply in this context. The panel member’s decision on the economic matters that come before him or her will be regarded as binding by all parties to the individual case and will not have general applicability.

Predictability of stipends and packages. The university will extend its current commitment to maintaining a 3 year horizon for announcing stipends to a 6 year horizon for announcement, thereby ensuring that every entering student will have full knowledge of the minimum terms of his or her agreement with the university. The university will continue to honor its current commitment to pay 100% of the cost of the student health care package for graduate assistants. For each student receiving an award, these packages will be memorialized in a legally binding agreement.

Guaranteed minimum stipend levels. The Administration will work with the new graduate assistant representative body to develop methods to benchmark appropriately the minimum NYU graduate student stipends in various disciplines against the minimum stipends of an appropriate group of 15 peer schools and will guarantee that the NYU stipends will be at or above the median of the relevant pool of peer schools in each case

Good faith regarding responsibilities and consequences. We fully recognize the university’s need to ensure that any graduate assistant who undertakes responsibilities for the education of undergraduates carries out these responsibilities. Nevertheless, we would urge the Administration to step back from its declared intention of imposing sanctions on striking students beginning on Wednesday 7th December and to make the following two commitments: (i) No sanctions will be imposed on any graduate assistant who makes a good faith effort to complete his or her Fall semester responsibilities to the undergraduates for whom he or she is responsible; (ii) Any graduate assistant who does so carry out his or her responsibilities will be eligible to teach next semester. At the same time, we would propose that any graduate assistant who undertakes responsibilities for undergraduate classes in the Spring semester or thereafter ought to honor these responsibilities, or else accept the prospective penalties previously outlined by the Administration.


We ask that you give these proposals careful consideration and hope that you will give them your endorsement. While they may not satisfy all parties, we believe that they provide a resolution that guarantees to our graduate assistants an effective system of representation, a process of grievance resolution, and a guarantee of improved stipends continuing into the future, At the same time, they also meet the university’s concern to ensure good governance and the integrity of the academic enterprise.

An early and honorable resolution of this damaging dispute is in the interests of the whole university community, not least of undergraduate students, who have borne some of the burden of the dispute.

Signed:

David Garland
Craig Calhoun
Troy Duster
Faye Ginsburg
Steven Lukes
Emily Martin
Fred Myers
Rayna Rapp

More Absurd Administrative Rhetoric

In today's Indypendent article on the strike, NYU mouthpiece John Beckman states, "The whole rhetoric of corporatization is vilification."

This is, by far, one of the more ridiculous statements put out by the university! The concept of "corporatization" is not necessarily held pejoratively -- particularly not among those on the Right, and especially not among neoliberal ideologues who envision it as a utopian ideal, in many respects. I'm sure people of such ilk could expound on the merits of corporatizing higher education (as could President Sexton himself, who bills NYU as an "Enterprise"); unfortunately, I can't, and thus won't. I will argue, however, that in certain circles, corporatization does not imply vilification at all, and indeed signifies the exact opposite.

Beckman's statement is almost as ridiculous as what President John Sexton had to say at the Town Hall meeting in July 2005, which was called to discuss GSOC's fate at NYU as a community. Sexton's statements stand at the apex of absurdity in this ongoing battle for union re-recognition.

In response to the question from an NYU GA in the audience, "What is the logic for denying union representation to us," and then pushed to clarify his original statement on the university's position, Sexton says:

"Look, I'm a professor at the law school. When I finish my civil procedure exam, I have 150 students' bluebooks, and they write a lot, these law students, about five bluebooks each. I know what it means when the semester's over to have to invest a minimum of 250 to 300 hours grading those bluebooks, because they're first semester exams, OK? Is it pleasant? No. Do I consider myself a worker, as a tenured faculty member of the law school? No." [Laughter erupts from the audience.]

This statement is just downright nutty. To listen to the entire audio file from this meeting, go to the NYU Strike Archive (scroll down to the first link under the heading, "Negotiations").

Indypendent Coverage of the Strike

Terrific piece on the strike in The Indypendent, a publication of NYC Indymedia. We got the cover and the center spread! Kudos to The Indypendent for finally putting a "human face" on the labor dispute at NYU.

NYC Indymedia also features this archive of coverage, maintained by Strikewatcher. Thank you, Indymedia!

International Students Respond the Sexton, Address Vulnerability

Thanks to genpaul for this tip:
The following is a letter from international graduate students at NYU to President Sexton.

The letter with the most current list of signatories will be sent to NYU President Sexton on Wednesday, December 7th at 12pm.

To add your name and department affiliation to this letter please email inyupetition@gmail.com

==========================================

December 7, 2005

John Sexton
President
New York University

This is in reply to your letter of November 28, 2005, stipulating the deadline of December 5, 2005 for striking Graduate Assistants to return to work or face the consequences of loss of stipend and ineligibility to teach for the following two consecutive semesters.

The undersigned are international graduate students: some have withheld labor since November 9, some have continued to work, some others do not have teaching or research obligations this semester. Among the undersigned, those who have continued working have been influenced in their decision by direct or indirect intimidation. Out of those who are striking, some will return to work and others will not. Those returning to work will do so in fear of the legal and financial consequences that the implementation of your threats may carry and not at all out of agreement with your arguments. Those who continue to strike will do so in spite of those possible consequences, and in full awareness of the particular risks entailed. But we are all equally outraged and will not be silenced.

We, as international students, feel especially vulnerable to your antagonizing, intimidating and outrageous threats. Many of us have had to deal with increasingly restrictive U.S. immigration policies, enhanced surveillance and record-keeping and with hostility when being questioned by immigration officers. Some of us have suffered the threat of deportation. Thus, we are concerned with maintaining our legal status in this country.

NYU has stated that our legal status is not in danger, yet the administration is fully cognizant of the fact that our student visas are contingent on our continued status as full-time students and our ability to cover our living expenses, which in turn depends on our stipends and salaries. Our status prevents us to a great extent from working outside campus, as well as from applying for external grants and loans. If loans in US dollars were granted to us by NYU, as the administration has proposed, it would be extremely difficult to repay them when we return to our home countries.

We were invited to this institution to study and work and we came eagerly, expecting to find an environment of respect and mutual consideration conducive to academic advancement. But the administration's recent threats to our well-being have significantly harmed our confidence in NYU. Such a loss of confidence can be reversed by the administration. Under the current conditions we cannot encourage prospective students from our respective countries from coming to NYU. By refraining from doing so, we are following the lead of faculty from NYU and other prestigious institutions. A good part of NYU's strength comes from its international students. Hence, the administration's present position weakens the institution as a whole.

We all share a commitment to academic integrity and the rights of workers, as well as a deep belief in the possibility to resolve conflicts through amicable negotiations. We therefore support the Graduate Student Organizing Committee (GSOC) and will continue in various ways to argue and fight for a reasonable contract for our labor.

NYU was the first and only private university in the United States to recognize a union of Graduate Assistants. That was unprecedented, and laudable. NYU now threatens Graduate Assistants with actions detrimental to their finances and careers. This is also unprecedented, and deplorable. We therefore strongly condemn these threats as signaling a sharp decline in NYU's intellectual and ethical position in the academic and labor community.

We believe that the administration can easily rectify its unethical position and palliate the antagonism it has created by withdrawing the threats and dropping the ultimatum. It is NYU's ethical responsibility to recognize the rights of workers and to engage in the constructive dialogue that has made this university an outstanding academic institution.

Sincerely,

Waiel Abdelwahed, Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies
Mariana Amato, Spanish and Portuguese
Magali Armillas-Tiseyra, Comparative Literature
Anurima Banerji, Performance Studies
Clarissa Behar, French
Diego Benegas, Performance Studies
Claudio Benzecry, Sociology
Leslie-Ann Bolden, Sociology
Paola Bonifazio, Italian
Alexandra Borer, Institute of French Studies
Michiel Bot, Comparative Literature
Nathalie Bouzaglo, Spanish and Portuguese
Lina Britto, History
Elda L. Cantú-Castillo, Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Ipek A. Celik, Comparative Literature
Elizabeth Chavez, Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Wei-chi Chen, History
Teresa Colombo, Biology
Valeria Coronel, History
Hector Martin Crocce, Physics
M. Zeynep Dadak, Cinema Studies
Santiago Deymonnaz, Spanish and Portuguese
Munir Fakher Eldin, Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies
Rong Fan, Physics
Miao Feng, History
Carolin Hagelskamp, Community Psychology
Ellen Xiang He, Comparative Literature
Matthias Heymann, Courant Institute
Katharina Ivanyi, Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies
Pablo Jercog, Physics
Jelena Karanovic, Anthropology
Yilmaz Kocer, Economics
David Koffman, Hebrew and Judaic Studies, History
Monika Krause, Sociology
Azra Krek, Physics
Frederic Laliberte, Courant Institute
Sanghyuk Lee, Physics
Pia Leighton, Spanish and Portuguese
Christophe Litwin, French
Mariano Lopez-Seoane, Spanish and Portuguese
Sudhir Mahadevan, Cinema Studies
Aldo Marchesi, History
Morad Masjedi, Physics
Silvana Melitsko, Economics
Lina Meruane, Spanish and Portuguese
Al Saeed Momin, Courant Institute
Alessandra Montalbano, Italian
Gulseren Mutlu, Economics
Osamu Nakano, History
Jeppe B. Nielsen, French
Rachel O'Connell, English
Alan Page, English
Yaakov Perry, Comparative Literature
Marco Polin, Physics
Stéphanie Ponsavady, French
Sebastian Pueblas, Physics
Stephen Russell, Hebrew and Judaic Studies
Marco Scalvini, Italian
Jenny Shaw, History
Mariano Siskind, Comparative Literature
Federico Sor, History
Yi Sun, Comparative Literature
Gail Super, Law and Society
Smita Tripathi, Spanish and Portuguese
Aristotelis Tsirigos, Courant Institute
Basak Tug, History, Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies
Z. Umut Turem, Law and Society
Javier Uriarte, Spanish and Portuguese
Alejandra Uslenghi, Comparative Literature
Yeliz Utku, Chemistry
Agnes Veto. Hebrew and Judaic Studies
Emily Wilbourne, Music

Fellow GSOC members support their international brothers and sisters, and deplore NYU's decision regarding the specific consequences it set for striking GAs. The administration intended such consequences to be born unevenly among our ranks, and is thus taking advantage of the international students' vulnerable status in order to break our solidarity. President Sexton, we won't be broken!

REMINDER: Rally for Labor on Human Rights Day

Don't forget! Today (Wednesday, December 7) from 4:30 - 6 pm, the National AFL-CIO and NYC unions will rally directly across from our picket line in Washington Square Park to commemorate Human Rights Day and several union organizing campaigns, including ours.

Join us! Why? 2 reasons, which we all know by now:

1) New York is a union town, and
2) labor rights are human rights.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Tick Tock, Tick Tock

If I'm not mistaken, President Sexton pushed his ultimatum back to tomorrow morning (which is almost *this* morning, now). So, just wanted to post and say to everyone, "See you on the picket line in a few hours, with bells (and whistles) on!"

P.S. 4,836 total signatures, and counting.

No GSOC, No Democracy at NYU

Hey, did you know women have the right to vote in this country? It seems women workers also have the right to strike! Who knew??? Now if only the female graduate employees at NYU had both those rights. Sigh.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Down, But Not Out

Sorry about the temporary service disruption earlier this evening. It was the result of a Blogger-wide technical snafu. No worries -- we're still here, and we're still ON STRIKE!

NYU Labor Archivists Support GSOC

Via NYU Inc., here's a photo of a sign posted by Tamiment Library/Labor Archive staff during GUS' temporary "occupation" of Bobst last week. Ah, warms the cockles of your little heart, doesn't it?

Rumor Mill: Penn's GET-UP Gets Even

Word on the picket line today was that a group of Penn graduate employees from GET-UP hauled ass down to Baltimore recently, where our very own President Sexton was scheduled to speak. They allegedly protested the talk, even leafletting the chairs of individual audience members, and created such a nuisance that Sexton had to bow out early without taking questions from the crowd.

Can anyone deny or confirm this very exciting but wholly unsubstantiated rumor? If it's true, than our brothers and sisters at GET-UP deserve a huge round of applause for their amazing show of solidarity!

3466 Signatures, and Counting

Following up on a previous post, it seems the Butler et al. letter is also an online petition. At the time of this post, the total number of signatures was 3466, and growing by the minute (literally). Did I mention that it's only been posted online for less than 4 days? Wow!!! I marvel at the power of the internet; I marvel at the power of truth.

Here it is, in all its crowning glory:

To: President John Sexton, NYU

December 2, 2005
John Sexton
President, New York University

We, the undersigned faculty from several universities in the United States and abroad, write to express our objections to the New York University administration's efforts to defeat the graduate student union and retaliate against those who have initiated and sustained the current strike. The union in question was clearly instated on the basis of a fair election which then obligated New York University to negotiate with the appointed representatives in a fair and open manner. Although the NLRB in 2005 released the university from its obligations to recognize the union, it did not authorize retaliatory action on the part of the university.The recent actions of your office, now widely publicized, defy all protocols of civility and fairness and herald a bellicose approach to the union and its demands for fair wages, decent health care, and provisional job security.

As we all know, there may be differences of opinion on how best to formulate policies that would address these various issues, but undermining the union itself is nothing more than Reagan-esque union-busting and so conveys and enacts hostility to student labor that can only heighten conflict and circulate a ruinous image for New York University as an unfair and indecent place of employment. The infiltration of student and faculty email constitutes an unauthorized invasion of privacy.And the most recent threat to rescind funding for students engaged in the strike constitutes an abhorrent form of coercion.

We urge you to enter into negotiations with the union and to find civil, legal, and productive ways of resolving whatever issues of employment exist between these two parties.

Sincerely,

Judith Butler
Maxine Elliot Professor
University of California, Berkeley

Fredric Jameson
William A. Lane Professor of Comparative Literature and Romance Studies
Duke University

Joan W. Scott
Harold F. Linder Professer of Social Science
Institute for Advanced Study

Talal Asad
Distinguished Professor of Anthropology
City University of New York

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities
Columbia University

Paul Gilroy
Anthony Giddens Professors of Social Theory
London School of Economics

Donna Haraway
Professor of History of Consciousness
University of California at Santa Cruz

Slavoj Zizek
Co-Director
International Center for Humanities
Birkbeck College, University of London

Etienne Balibar
Professeur Emérite, Université de Paris X Nanterre
Distinguished Professor of Humanities, University of California, Irvine

Sincerely,

The Undersigned


Anybody who's anybody knows this is a powerhouse crew of scholars. Hmm, now if I only I could get each of them to write me a personal recommendation...

Sunday, December 04, 2005

This is NOT Negotiation!

The most recent proposal from GAC was NOT an offer from GSOC. Sexton's latest e-mail (see below) is NOT an agreement with GSOC, nor is it an offer to negotiate with GSOC. GSOC strikers will defiantly remain on strike!!!

I repeat: this is a piece of blatant propaganda to fool the NYU community into thinking that striking GAs will return to work tomorrow. Students and faculty alike don't know the full truth because GSOC is unable to communicate with the entire NYU community via NYU E-Mail Direct.

The "proposal" that the President refers to is absolutely substanceless; there are no specific terms to the agreement, yet it requires a committment on the part of the striking GAs to return to work. It offers no promise on the part of the university to negotiate with GAs. What little it does actually outline does not constitute collective bargaining. What it offers is what's called a "company union." In other words, it's a sham! There's no stipulation for outside arbitration; the university has final say over the terms of any potential agreement, the terms of which have yet to be specified.

From: NYU President John Sexton and Provost David McLaughlin (office.president@nyu.edu)
Subject: University Response to Graduate Affairs Committee Proposal

We accept the proposal offered by Rodney Washington, chair of the Graduate Affairs Committee of the Student Senators Council/UCSL, and Brian Levine, chair of the graduate student voice subcommittee. The University is prepared to work with a group of graduate students in the manner proposed by Graduate Affairs Committee, including GAs who are also willing to accept the terms proposed by the committee.

Accordingly, implementation of the steps outlined in the November 28 letter to graduate assistants will be delayed until Wednesday morning to give GSOC an opportunity to consider this proposal and to give GAs an opportunity to return to class, preferably as early as tomorrow.

John Sexton, President
David McLaughlin, Provost

23rd Hour Proposal from GAC

Arrived in my inbox at 5:09pm this evening, via NYU E-Mail Direct:

TO: THE NYU COMMUNITY

FROM: Rodney L. Washington, Chair, Graduate Affairs Committee of the Student Senators Council/UCSL

Brian A. Levine, Chair, Graduate Student Voice Subcommittee

RE: Committee Proposal re: Graduate Assistants at NYU

The Graduate Affairs Committee consists of elected representatives from each of the graduate and professional schools. One of the tasks of the Committee is to develop a robust, credible system of representation and voice for all of NYU’s graduate assistants. We respect the graduate assistants’ right to express their concerns through the current strike, and also the University’s right to address the hardship imposed upon the academic community. We seek a resolution that is amenable to all affected.

In addition to developing a system of representation, the Committee has responsibilities to address health insurance coverage, housing, communications, and any other matters of interest to graduate students across the University. There is much work to be done on all of these issues. We have had many discussions in recent weeks with a broad range of students and faculty. These discussions are critical right now.

In normal conditions, our efforts on each of these would extend well into the Spring semester, but because issues of representation are so much at the center of the current graduate student strike, we are making a proposal now on this issue to the entire community – students, faculty and administration.

The Committee, with other graduate students, including GSOC, will develop over the next two weeks a model for a University-wide organization of graduate assistants elected locally from departments and programs. This organization will speak and act for NYU graduate assistants.

• We call upon President John Sexton and the University Administration to commit publicly that it will meet with this organization regularly and develop annually with it multi-year economic packages for GAs (stipends, health and other benefits, etc.).

• We ask striking Graduate Assistants to return to their teaching responsibilities, both out of concern for their students and as an act of faith in the process we are proposing. We ask GSOC publicly to announce the suspension of the strike by 5:00PM on Tuesday, December 6. In order to give GSOC time to do this, we call upon the University to suspend the imposition of any consequences on Graduate Assistants who return by Wednesday, December 7.

• We call upon faculty members to embrace our proposal.

We want to thank those senior faculty members who in recent days have suggested to us the main elements of the above approach. Our Committee will continue to work next semester on health insurance, housing, communications, and other issues for all graduate students, but we anticipate that this new graduate assistant organization will be the principal representative body on these issues for graduate assistants.

Sincerely,
Rodney L. Washington, Chair, Graduate Affairs Committee
Brian A. Levine, Chair, Graduate Student Voice Subcommittee

Respond to: GraduateAffairsCommittee@nyu.edu

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FACULTY SENATORS COUNCIL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE LETTER

The Executive Committee of the Faculty Senators Council recognizes the value of a University-wide organization, consisting of elected representatives, to create a mechanism that provides a voice for all of our graduate assistants. We support the process for formation of the organization proposed by the Graduate Affairs Committee and urge the Administration to do so as well. Moreover, we pledge to work with the Administration and the University Senate Committee on Organization and Governance to integrate this organization appropriately into our structures of university governance.

By: Jim Hinojosa, Chair, Faculty Senators Council
Virginia Black
Carl Lebowitz
Srinivasa Varadhan

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
STUDENT SENATORS COUNCIL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE LETTER

The Executive Committee of the Student Senators Council openly endorses and is confident that the mechanism proposed by our Graduate Affairs Committee can be effective in addressing the entire community's concerns and we will work to integrate it more fully into our governance structure. We believe that an open conversation will be beneficial to graduate and undergraduate students alike.

By: Anny Chen, Chair, Student Senators Council and Chair, University Committee on Student Life
Justin Lee, Vice Chair, SSC
Mansi Patel, Vice Chair, UCSL

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FACULTY LETTER

Dear Faculty Colleague,

Early this morning, we received the attached proposal from the Graduate Affairs Committee of the Student Senators Council. They sent it to us in the hopes that we would be willing to endorse it and seek the support of other faculty for it.

The proposal incorporates the following elements. It pledges that the GAC will work in cooperation with GSOC and other students to develop a democratic system of representation for our graduate assistants. It calls on the University Administration to publicly commit to working closely with such an elected body to develop multi-year packages for our assistants, including stipends, health insurance coverage, housing, communications, and all other matters of interest to graduate students across the University. It calls on striking graduate assistants to return to the classroom and for GSOC to suspend the strike.

Many of the details of the proposed representation system still have to be worked out and some of us may feel uneasy taking it on faith that a credible system which ensures the well-being of our graduate students will result.

For all the reservations that one may have about it, though, we believe that we should all endorse the call of the Committee to work with GSOC to craft a credible voice mechanism for our graduate students. We will circulate this letter widely, with the aim of getting a broad and diverse range of faculty to support it.

Jess Benhabib
Paul Boghossian
Eliot Borenstein
Marisa Carrasco
Glennys Farrar
Steven Lukes
Anthony Movshon
Tim Reiss
Adam Przeworski
Katherine Fleming

My initial reaction:

1) GAC claims that it will work with GSOC over the next 2 weeks to develop a system of GA government. Did GSOC ever agree to this? I have very strong doubts that they did, or will.
UPDATE: GSOC does NOT endorse this proposal!

2) I said this about Sexton's last letter, and I will say it again: I feel it's highly unwise (read: downright foolish) to commit -- either individually or collectively -- to an agreement whose details are entirely unspecified. My sage mother taught me never to write a blank check (not even to her!). Good faith should be called upon to uphold agreements or to negotiate, but not to set terms. We have no recourse if NYU reneges the committee's suggestions, or if GSOC is dissatisfied with the committee's final proposal to the university.

3) This proposal asks striking GAs to return to work in an act of good faith, yet requires no mutual act of good faith on the part of NYU. The only concession requested of the administration is a 2-day delay in meting out punishment to strikers.

4) It's still unclear to me who, exactly, comprises the Graduate Affairs Committee (GAC) or the Student Senators Council (SSC), and how they managed to achieve their positions. It says they are "elected representatives," but by what process?

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Feminists in Solidarity

I'm positively giddy! Both Zach and NYU Inc. are reporting that Judith Butler, Joan Scott, and Donna Haraway are among the preeminent list of scholars who've signed their names to following letter:
December 2, 2005

John Sexton
President, New York University

We, the undersigned faculty from several universities in the United States and abroad, write to express our objections to the New York University administration's efforts to defeat the graduate student union and retaliate against those who have initiated and sustained the current strike. The union in question was clearly instated on the basis of a fair election which then obligated New York University to negotiate with the appointed representatives in a fair and open manner. Although the NLRB in 2005 released the university from its obligations to recognize the union, it did not authorize retaliatory action on the part of the university. The recent actions of your office, now widely publicized, defy all protocols of civility and fairness and herald a bellicose approach to the union and its demands for fair wages, decent health care, and provisional job security.

As we all know, there may be differences of opinion on how best to formulate policies that would address these various issues, but undermining the union itself is nothing more than Reagan-esque union-busting and so conveys and enacts hostility to student labor that can only heighten conflict and circulate a ruinous image for New York University as an unfair and indecent place of employment. The infiltration of student and faculty email constitutes an unauthorized invasion of privacy. And the most recent threat to rescind funding for students engaged in the strike constitutes an abhorrent form of coercion.

We urge you to enter into negotiations with the union and to find civil, legal, and productive ways of resolving whatever issues of employment exist between these two parties.
Welp, that pretty much seals it -- I'm staying out! Not like I was ever really in doubt. But come on -- Butler, Scott, and Haraway? The nerds are pissed, and so are the feminists.

Ouch! Columbia's Provost Disses NYU

And here I thought Sexton et al. were doing the bidding of the Ivies (e.g., Yale, Columbia, Penn) by busting GSOC. Well if they are, they sure ain't gettin' any thanks from Columbia! From a recent Columbia Spectator article:
University Provost Alan Brinkley would not specify what, if anything, Columbia would do in the event of a future GSEU strike, but noted, “It has never been our policy in the past [to do] what NYU is doing. ... I don’t anticipate that changing.”
Pray tell, Alan Brinkley, what exactly is NYU doing? At first, I thought Brinkley was referring to the amount of recognition NYU has given the strike (even if only to deny it's having an effect). Columbia has been notorious for haughtily refusing to acknowledge its own striking grad students -- not even to dismiss them. But then I read the comment a few times over, and thought it also could be interpreted the other way -- that Columbia has never and presently would not threaten to sanction its students for striking. In other words, Columbia's trying to position itself as the "good cop" to NYU's "bad cop." Either way, it sounds like a thinly veiled criticism of NYU if I ever heard one!

Click here to read the entire article, which also discusses the universities' historic tag-team effort to bust unions. Wait, I'm so confused! Isn't NYU opposed to collective bargaining? Not when it comes to Sexton and his Ivy cronies, it seems.

Labor Rally Report: New York is a Union Town

Anyone who attended the labor rally today in support of GSOC can tell you that the experience was tremendously inspirational and reinvigorating. The turnout from local union members was overwhelming, and the speakers were rousing. Solidarity was palpable; I had goosebumps. The afternoon really brought to life for me one of our more popular picket line chants, "John Sexton's going down, New York is a union town!"

Word on the rally from GSOC:
Today the national labor movement united and rallied with us at our Bobst picket line. Labor leaders and elected officals admonished NYU's shameful union-busting tactics and pledged their full support for our strike. City Council member Christine Quinn reported that the Council has frozen funds for NYU until they negotiate with our union and City Council member Robert Jackson said that the Council will not approve any NYU development projects until we have a contract. NYC Central Labor Council President Brian McLaughlin announced that a GSOC fundraiser will be held on December 15. Details on the fundraiser will follow.

Other speakers included UAW President Ron Gettelfinger, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Teamster leader Gary LaBarbera, UNITE-HERE Co-President John Wilhelm, Manhattan Borough President-elect Scott Stringer, City Council member Bill DeBlasio, Assemblyman Danny O'Donnell, State Senator Tom Duane, Transit Workers Leader Roger Toussaint, CUNY faculty union President Barbara Bowen, Local 2110 President Maida Rosenstein, and GSOC Chairperson Michael Palm, who was also a guest this morning on DemocracyNow, a nationally syndicated progressive talk show. On Wednesday, GSOC member Jenny Shaw and GUS leader Julian Pena-Vargas were on the Brian Lehrer show, one of the most popular liberal talk shows in the city. For links or transcripts, go to: www.democracynow.org and www.wnyc.org
What the union fails to report on, however, is City Council member Robert Jackson's fervent speech, during which he twice declared, "NYU ain't gettin' sh*t!" (This was in reference to City Council approval for future NYU development projects.)

City Council and the rest of the NYC labor movement -- one of the largest in any North American city -- supports GSOC and stands with us in solidarity. GSOC strikers extend a heartfelt thanks to all the union members, union leaders, and local politicians who participated in today's rally; you've strengthened our resolve to win a fair second contract!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Rally with Local and National Labor Leaders Tomorrow!

A reminder from GSOC:

Tomorrow's rally with labor leaders and elected officials is an important opportunity for us to come together as a union. UAW President Ron Gettelfinger, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, UNITE-HERE Co-President John Wilhelm, NYC Central Labor Council President Brian McLaughlin, Barbara Bowen, president of the CUNY faculty union, elected officials and other labor leaders and members will be at Bobst Library for a noon picket line rally.

This broad show of solidarity sends a strong message to NYU that they will have to take on the whole labor movement if they refuse to negotiate with us. We ask all GSOC members to come to the Bobst picket line at noon on Friday to rally with our labor allies and demonstrate to the NYU administration that we are standing strong.

To recap: tomorrow, Bobst, 12pm, BE THERE!

Simulacra and Simulation

The Washington Square News is reporting today that although GUS members were told yesterday that President Sexton was in DC at the time they tried to deliver to him their open letter in support of GSOC, President Sexton was spotted (and photographed) outside Bobst just hours beforehand. And while I'm not entirely familiar with the contours of his back, the man in the snapshot indeed bears a striking resemblence to Sexton...

Presumably, the caption of the photo below should read, "President Sexton frantically running to catch the train to DC."

(Photo courtesy of Ben Jarosch via WSN)

GUS' Negotiate Now! Rally a Raging Success

Today was an amazing day for GSOC, thanks to Graduate/Undergraduate Solidarity (GUS)! The speakers, the picketing, the critical mass of people, the energy, the student solidarity, the open letter from undergrads to Sexton that was delivered to the 12th floor of Bobst by storm -- it was all a crazy, wild, spirited success. Thank you, GUS!

For details of the day, check out NYU Inc.'s report on the festivities, including photos and commentary by the undergrads themselves. Below is a pic of the banner (courtesy of NYU, Inc.) that was sprawled out in the atrium of Bobst during the "students' storm." Recognize the floor, eh?