Saturday, January 28, 2006

A letter in response to the lockout

January 26, 2006

Frank Hoppensteadt, Ph.D.
Senior Vice Provost for Planning
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, Room 1232
New York University
New York, NY 10003

Dear Mr. Hoppensteadt:

Each of us has received a letter from your office dated January 23, 2006 stating that our stipends will be withdrawn for two semesters. Your letter requests that we inform you of " incorrect information or any particular considerations of which we should be aware" regarding this action.

We are not meeting our classes at the appointed times because, as members of GSOC/UAW Local 2110, we are on strike over the university's refusal to bargain in good faith with our union for a second contract.

The punitive measures you have taken can only be seen as retribution for our exercising our right to strike as graduate employees. You have not only denied our basic right to collective bargaining, you have now compounded the injustice by withdrawing our pay prospectively for two semesters, an action which would clearly be illegal were we covered by the National Labor Relations Act.

Your letter suggests that your actions "move forward with the steps outlined in President Sexton's November 28 letter." To the contrary, the penalty outlined in your January 23 letter increases the penalty threatened in the November 28 email. President Sexton's November threats, which were roundly condemned by members of the NYU community, by scholars from across the country and around the world, and by the labor movement, stipulated the loss of stipends for the spring 2006 semester for graduate employees who remained on strike after the December 5 (later postponed to December 7) deadline. It went on to say, "For those graduate assistants who return by December 5th and accept a teaching assignment for the spring, this acceptance comes with the commitment to meet their responsibilities without interruption throughout the spring semester. Absences not approved by the dean will result in suspension from assistantship assignments and loss of stipend for the following two consecutive semesters." We do not fall into this category - we have been on strike consistently since the beginning.

The proposed penalties - a prospective docking of pay for semesters in which we have not yet struck - are not only patently unjust, but have been implemented without any semblance of due process, ignoring even the inadequate process called for by the university's own internal rules.

We are committed teachers and look forward to returning to our classrooms when NYU recognizes our contribution to undergraduate education and demonstrates respect for the work that we do here by negotiating a second contract with our union.

Sincerely,

Danielle Carlo

Amy LeClair

Sarah Wolf

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