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Grad Students Battle NYU Over Right to Organize a Union

By GSOC and UAW's estimates, NYU has spent more than a half million dollars in litigation to block the union—that's a lot of scholarships and health care benefits. It seems wrong to argue, as NYU does, that better funding obviates the need for a union. If the GAs are workers, they have a fundamental right to organize. Students and supportive faculty are confident that the NLRB will decide in the new union's favor, citing a related decision: In November 1999, the NLRB reversed a long-standing decision and ruled that interns and residents at Boston Medical Center are employees with the right to unionize, and as a consequence the Yale case has been reopened. Momentum is gathering across the nation as students await the outcome of the GSOC-UAW case, and if they prevail, their victory will set a standard that GAs at other private universities will likely scramble to adopt.

Protesters rally against NYU in Washington Square Park.
photo: Annie Chia
Protesters rally against NYU in Washington Square Park.

A conference, "Labor's Next Century: Alliances, Sweatshops, and the Global South," will be held April 7 to 8. Call 212-998-3721.

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