Tuesday, February 28, 2006

News Updates, and NYU's Fake Medical Emergency Fund

As per NYU's "promise" in one of it's strategic efforts to bust the union early this fall, a "medical emergency fund" has been established. This fund is supposed to assist full-time graduate students who already have health insurance and who face "unusually large" medical expenses. This fund consists of a total of $200,000--not too much given the extent of medical expenses today. In order to get money from the fund, applicants must first work with a financial aid counselor to try and get money from public assistance programs and regular financial aid. Even if an applicant manages to jump through all these hoops, the payout will only range from five to ten thousand dollars. (Incidently, the NYU student health center still thinks we have a union--see http://www.nyu.edu/nyuhc/insurance.html). How much would this help?

Well, NYU student health insurance covers only $1,000 per year of perscription drugs. A person on, for instance, antiretroviral treatment for HIV can have $30,000 per year of perscription costs. The medical emergency fund will help, of course. But it would still pay only one third of perscription costs.

The Washington Square News for today includes coverage of many fired GSOC members' successful effort to get their employment suspension reduced to one semester. However, it is important to remember that 8 graduate employees are still scheduled to be blacklisted for two semesters and that all 23 currently fired employees are in need of financial assistance--so keep up your donations to the strike fund.

You can also see coverage from NY1 of the Macy's rally that GSOC members attended on Monday. And another union campaign to watch: Sikorsky Helicopters in New Haven. Also on the general union news front, the NEA (an umbrella union for teachers) is building closer ties with the AFL-CIO. Teachers are workers, just like other workers.


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