Jerrold Nadler, Congressman from New York, 8th District, has written an open letter to the United States House of Representatives, asking his colleagues to sign on to a letter to John Sexton calling for negotiations between NYU and our union. GSOC supporters can aid in this effort by calling or emailing their representatives
and urging them to sign.
Nadler's letter follows a similar letter
from New York Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton, urging all US Senators to sign a letter to Sexton demanding negotiations. GSOC supporters can also urge their Senators
to sign this letter.
We encourage all GSOC members and supporters to encourage friends and relatives across the country about these legislative letters, as they are an effective way to keep pressure building on NYU to negotiate over the summer.
The text of the Dear Colleague letter from Nadler to the House is below, followed by the sign-on letter to Sexton.
Graduate employees at New York University, members of GSOC/UAW Local 2110, have been on strike for a second contract since November 9, 2005. At issue are wages, hours, benefits and a meaningful grievance resolution procedure. But, more fundamentally, the dispute is about the right of employees to have a representative of their own choosing.
Graduate employees at NYU voted to join the UAW in 2000, pursuant to an NLRB decision applying the National Labor Relations Act to graduate employees. In 2002, the UAW and NYU signed a collective bargaining agreement – the first ever union contract for graduate employees in a private university. This landmark agreement improved wages, benefits and working conditions, while at the same time preserving the University's exclusive right to determine all academic matters.
At the expiration of the agreement in August 2005, however, the University withdrew recognition of the union, and has since refused to negotiate with GSOC/UAW over the terms of a second contract. NYU has sought to hide behind a flawed and highly controversial decision by the NLRB, newly stocked with Bush appointees, reversing an earlier decision, and holding that graduate employees are not entitled to the protections of the National Labor Relations Act. But, as NYU has admitted, nothing in this NLRB decision or in the law prohibits the University from continuing a collective bargaining relationship with the graduate employees' designated representative.
Graduate employees have consistently demonstrated majority support for the union, including, in the last year, signing petitions calling for negotiations, demonstrating, engaging in civil disobedience and striking in an effort to secure a second contract.
The work of graduate employees is central to the educational mission of the University. These employees teach an estimated eighty-five percent of undergraduate classes in the core curriculum. The work of graduate employees is valuable, and the University should value it by negotiating a collective bargaining agreement with their designated representative.
The University's conduct refusal to negotiate has been soundly condemned by all stakeholders in the community: students, faculty, civil and human rights activists, the greater labor movement and elected officials.
The University has an opportunity to resolve this dispute by negotiating an enforceable contract with GSOC/UAW. Permitting the conflict to carry over to the next academic semester is irresponsible, and at odds with the University's obligation to pursue educational excellence.
We ask you to stand with graduate employees and their elected representative, GSOC/UAW, by signing the attached letter calling for the NYU administration to resolve the dispute by negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement with the union. For further information, please contact Lisette Morton in my office at 202-225-5635.
Member of Congress
Dear President Sexton:
As elected officials, we wish to express our strong support for the graduate employees at New York University, members of GSOC/UAW Local 2110 who have called upon the NYU administration to engage in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement.
Graduate employees perform valuable work for the University and are entitled to have the work valued accordingly.
The NYU administration's refusal to bargain with the union relies on the flawed 2005 NLRB decision holding that universities are not obligated under the National Labor Relations Act to bargain with the representative of graduate employees. But as the NYU administration has admitted, nothing in that decisison or the law prevents NYU from maintaining a collective bargaining relationship with GSOC/UAW.
As we look to the next academic year, we call upon the NYU administration to resolve the campus conflict by respecting the will of the majority and negotiating an enforceable second contract with the employees' designated representative, GSOC/UAW.