‘Andy, Andy, you can’t hide,’ NYU contract faculty tell president

A week after gathering at Bobst Library to call for union recognition, New York University’s contract faculty rallied to demand that the university begin a formal union recognition process.

Samson Tu

The contract faculty rallied after university president Andrew Hamilton offered no response to their demand for recognition last week. (Samson Tu for WSN)

Students, faculty and local politicians demonstrated outside NYU’s Bobst Library in support of Contract Faculty United, calling on the university to recognize the union that represents NYU’s unemployed contract faculty. The rally follows another rally near Bobst last week, when the union gave the university a seven-day deadline to respond letter with their requirements.

At NYU, the term “tenured faculty” refers to full-time faculty whose contracts are renewed every few years. Unlike adjunct professors, who make up the majority of faculty, typically work part-time and must renew their contracts each semester, contract faculty do not yet have a recognized union or collective bargaining agreement with the university.

A group of attendees, which included New York City Comptroller Brad Lander, chanted classic rallying phrases like, “If we don’t get it, shut it down,” and more personalized refrains, including, “Andy, Andy, you can’t hide, we we see your greedy side.” Elizabeth Fay, a CAS professor and union organizer, said the group hopes for a fair and neutral recognition process from the university.

“You can obviously fix it this afternoon,” Lander said at the rally. “It’s not that difficult. It doesn’t cost money. This is not the beginning of negotiations for raises. It’s not committing to job security, just coming here and saying, “Of course, we’re very grateful to you for teaching our students, for being the teachers that give us such a great reputation.”

The group’s demands include the right to negotiate terms of employment, management guidelines termination of faculty contracts and annual raises that match the rate of inflation. An email from Hamilton’s office the day before the rally told the contract faculty that the university would need more time to respond to the email.

University spokesman John Beckman said the university would respond to the union within seven to 10 days.

“We recognize their desire to form a collective bargaining unit and respect their right to peacefully rally in support of their goals.” Beckman said. “We will contact them shortly and respond to their letter in substance.”

Jacob Remes – a clinical adjunct professor in the Gallatin School of Individualized Learning and a member of the union’s organizing committee — said the university responded via email just 23 hours before the union’s deadline.

“I like my job. I like my colleagues. I love my students. And so far, the good will and unfulfillable promises of my bosses have endured,” Remes said. “Of course, our teaching, our counseling, our mentoring, our classroom work, our assessment work, our work with students, that’s the core of our work. If we didn’t work, the university wouldn’t work.”

Other campus task forces have had success organizing in the past. In November, the NYU faculty union, ACT-UAW Local 7902, was able successfully enter into a preliminary contract with the universityavoiding a strike that had been authorized by union members more than a week before.

The contract will provide additional wages, compensation for time spent working outside the auditorium, health insurance subsidies and other improvements.

GSOC-UAW Local 2110, the university’s graduate student union, was also able to contract with NYU after a three-week strike. The union became the first private university graduate student union to successfully negotiate collective bargaining in the country.

Fay said the union will continue to rally until the university begins the recognition process. She added that she hopes NYU will take advantage of the extra time they have to respond.

“Advice to President Hamilton as he continues work on this important midterm project in his final semester at NYU: Make good use of this extra time,” Fay said. “Make sure your response is something the entire NYU community can be proud of.”

Contact Bruna Horvath at [email protected]

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