New Idea on Grad Students, Unions at NYU

by E Wayne Ross on April 20, 2009

Inside Higher Ed: New Idea on Grad Students, Unions

New York University has been the site of a historic breakthrough for the push to unionize graduate teaching assistants — and a bitter strike to preserve the union, which ended in failure, without collective bargaining. NYU administrators are now floating an idea that would give graduate students the right to join the university’s adjunct union.

The idea is linked to improvements NYU is considering in doctoral students’ funding packages. Currently, students receive five years of support, but some of the support is linked to teaching for two or four semesters. The NYU plan would end the teaching requirement. Graduate students would still be encouraged to teach, but any teaching assignments would be paid on top of their fellowships. For those assignments, they would be treated as adjuncts, and covered by NYU’s adjunct union.