Sunday, June 04, 2006

Front Page News: New York AAUP Newspaper

In the Spring 2006 edition of New York Academe, the newspaper of the New York State Conference of the American Association of University Professors, we are front-page news. See below for full text.

AAUP Leaders are Arrested in Civil Disobedience Action
Protesters sit down for what they stand for. AAUP president Jane Buck and president-elect Cary Nelson were arrested

On April 27 in New York City, Buck and Nelson were detained by police for their participation in an act of civil disobedience.

They joined more than 50 other protesters to demonstrate their support for striking graduate assistants at New York University.

The strike, which began during the fall semester, has continued as the NYU administration has persisted in its refusal to negotiate with the union following a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision that graduate student employees were not covered by the National Labor Relations Act.

The administration then allowed a collective bargaining agreement between the University and the Graduate Student Organizing Committee/Local 2110 UAW to lapse.

Buck stated AAUP's position on the key issue. "It is the policy of the American Association of University Professors," she said, "that graduate assistants, like other campus employees, should have the right to bargain collectively. Under no circumstances should they be subject to retaliation for their collective bargaining activity."

Cary Nelson, addressing a group of students and labor leaders at New York's Judson Memorial Church, called the action "a watershed moment in the struggle for employee rights."

He further noted: "The NYU administration has recklessly maximized the tension with its graduate employees. Those of us who support them must now stand our ground or there will be no ground left on which to stand."

He called upon the NYU administration to negotiate a contract with the graduate assistants and to recognize the Graduate Student Organizing Committee/Local 2110 UAW, the graduate students' democratically affirmed and legal choice of union representation.

Nelson and Buck were charged with disorderly conduct for blocking the street in front of the Washington Square Arch before the NYU administration building. They will appear in court at a future date yet to be specified.

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