Telling NYU: Respect Graduate Assistants’ Democratic Choice on Unionization

On May 9, I joined a delegation of NYU graduate research and teaching assistants, UAW Regional Director Julie Kushner, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, New York State Assemblymembers Deborah Glick and Brian Kavanagh, and New York City Councilmember Margaret Chin in urging NYU President John Sexton to agree to a free and fair process to re-establish the graduate assistants’ union, whose last contract expired in 2005. As the State Senator whose district includes NYU’s main campus, it is personally disappointing to me that the university has persistently refused to recognize its graduate research and teaching assistants’ right to organize. NYU’s refusal to engage in collective bargaining with the union chosen by the clear majority of its graduate employees does not reflect this community’s attitude towards organized labor, and it certainly doesn’t reflect mine or that of so many of our colleagues in government across the city and state.