New York, NY – As members of the New York City Council Progressive Caucus, we strongly urge President Van Zandt’s administration at the New School to work diligently towards settling a contract with its Academic Student Workers (represented by the United Auto Workers) that includes decent wages, meaningful healthcare and other benefits.
In May of 2017, Academic Student Workers voters 99.6% for a union despite years of legal delays. While we appreciate that the New School’s Administration ultimately chose to honor the election certification issued in July of 2017, we urge President Van Zandt to reflect deeply and find creative and innovative solutions to improving the working lives and conditions of the New School’s student and academic workers.
Without a collective bargaining agreement, academic student workers have virtually no job protections. They lack the security of a living wage, health benefits, grievance procedures, and sick days.
Increasingly, institutions of higher education like the New School are relying more and more on student labor to teach their students and conduct important research. And many of these institutions are engaging in contracts with student workers that include healthcare, better wages and childcare creating an industry standard amongst peer institutions.
An emerging industry standard for academic workers is access to healthcare. Healthcare not only improves the worker’s lives but serves to create a level of security in the student workforce that benefits institutions and their students.
As the Progressive Caucus of the City Council, we are proud to be leaders in a city so committed to the rights of workers to organize and form unions and we urge the New School to reach a fair agreement that recognizes the needs and concerns of its student workers. It is students who make the New School one of the City’s most unique and renowned across the country and the world.