Last December, NYU graduate student employees won recognition for our union, GSOC-UAW, from the university administration. With an overwhelming 98.4% of votes cast in favor of the union, NYU became — for the second time — the first private university in the country to recognize the rights of its graduate student employees to collective representation.
After more than fifteen years of organizing, NYU’s graduate student workers had won a major victory, and the voluntary recognition of the union by the administration had the potential to set a new kind of precedent for other graduate student organizing campaigns around the country. But recognition was the start of a new round of struggle: one around what kind of a contract we could win, and what kind of union GSOC would be.
In July, a group of bargaining committee members — graduate students elected by their peers to represent us in our negotiations with the NYU administration — released a statement highlighting the “concessionary strategy, demobilization of our membership, and opacity of the bargaining process” on the part of UAW staff that they had witnessed over the course of the previous semester.