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Obama's Union-Busting New Chief of Staff? Jacob Lew Helped Destroy Grad Students' Union at NYU

When Obama's new Chief of Staff was NYU executive vice president, school ceased recognizing the grad students' union.

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Interviewed last month, GSOC activist Dacia Mitchell said that one of GSOC’s major focuses since the strike has been electing a Democratic President who would make pro-union NLRB appointments.  A week before Lew’s promotion to Chief of Staff, GSOC received welcome news from the White House when Obama  made three recess appointments to the NLRB, averting a shutdown of the agency and raising hopes that the Labor Board will rule on a new election petition  filed by GSOC in 2010 and restore the  NYU precedent.  Rosenstein, who was active in the GSOC campaign, says Obama “has in general been very supportive of our union, and labor in general.”

Regarding the Lew nomination, Rosenstein says, “That’s Washington politics.  A totally different role.  I have no idea whether he’ll be a good chief of staff or not.”  Asked whether Lew’s role in NYU’s campaign against her union should have been disqualifying, Rosenstein responds, “I would love it if he had a Chief of Staff who had a direct history of being very pro-union.  But he was in charge of the budget at NYU.  Within that context, he did what he did.  Maybe he’s learned something from it.”

Josh Eidelson is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia. He worked as a union organizer for five years. Check out his blog or follow him on Twitter.