Wednesday, November 23, 2005

NYU Graduate Assistants and the Picket Line

Today, graduate students at NYU are entering Day 11 on the picket line, demanding recgonition from the university of their union.  For those of you who have not been following the developments in this area of labor law, the controversy surrounds whether graduate assistants are considered statutory employees under Section 2(3) of the NLRA and thus, have Section 7 rights to organize, bargain collectively, and engage in other protected activities for mutual aid or protection, all without fear of employer retaliation.

In a recent 2004 NLRB decision, a 3-2 reversal of a previous 2000 decision granting bargaining rights to the NYU graduate students, the Board determined that graduate assistants at private universities were not statutory employees under the NLRA, but rather students who have assistantship semesters as part of their financial aid packages.  Consequently, NYU withdrew recognition this past summer from the union and since that time the graduate assistants have been trying to get the university to recognize them again for purposes of engaging in collective bargaining. 

Inside Higher Ed reports that approximately 165 classes out of the 2700 offered at NYU use graduate assistants as primary instructors, but another 1000 or so graduate students help by grading or holding recitation sections.    

The tension is mounting between the university administration, graduate students, as well as disgruntled parents of undergraduate students and undergraduate students on both sides of the issue. Stay tuned!

Posted by: Paul M. Secunda

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Quick addition: the graduate students are hoping to have a show of solidarity by having the students play "hookey" on Nov. 30.

Posted by: Paul M. Secunda | Nov 23, 2005 8:03:41 AM

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