Grad Students Strike At NYU

News & Politics

NYU graduate students went on strike yesterday to defend their professional rights as teachers and research assistants. The strikers are demanding that the University recognize their union and negotiate a new contract in good faith.

In July 2004, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that graduate students are not employees and therefore not entitled to unionize. Jill explains the legal situation in more detail at Feministe.

As Scott Lemieux says, the logic behind the NLRB's decision is flimsy. Claiming that grad students aren't workers because they're students is like saying that professional sports aren't sports because they're also businesses.

Logical or not, the NLRB ruling means that NYU's graduate students are facing a tough fight to get their union recognized. Nathan Newman sums up the situation:

When the government says you have no rights under the law, that doesn't mean workers can't fight out on their own. Bush's National Labor Relations Board stripped graduate student employees of their rights under labor law, but NYU grad students are still fighting, going out on strike to demand the University recognize their union as the collective bargaining agent for the student workers.

It's worth remembering that there were unions long before the Wagner Act, and the rightwingers can grind the law into useless dust, but that can't stop people determined to fight on their own.
[Feministe, Lawyers, Guns and Money, TPM Cafe]

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