Members of New York University’s Graduate Student Organizing Committee, a teaching assistant union, began voting Tuesday that could authorize a strike. Voting will continue with a yet-unnamed end date, organizers said.
The vote comes as the group continues to negotiate with NYU officials for what would become the first contract between a private university and a TA union in this country. If the union votes in favor of a strike authorization, GSOC bargaining representatives would be able to declare a strike if they were unsatisfied with the progress of contract negotiations by a date they would set.
Lisa Jessup, an organizer for the United Auto Workers, the parent union of the Graduate Student Organizing Committee, said the union planned to continue voting because not all members were on campus Tuesday. She said the group had not decided how long voting would continue.
Last March, NYU officials agreed to negotiate with the Graduate Student Organizing Committee shortly before the group planned to hold a strike authorization vote. Bargaining team members became frustrated by what they called a lack of progress in negotiations and decided to request the strike authorization vote, Jessup said.
NYU spokesman John Beckman declined to comment on the strike authorization vote itself, but said recent negotiation sessions have been productive.
“Every labor negotiation has its public moments with drama and rhetoric and its private moments at the bargaining table where the real work gets done,” Beckman said.
Beckman added that he found the union’s complaints about the speed of the process odd, since NYU’s original contract proposal was made in July and union members did not respond until October.
–Arielle Levin Becker