FAQ for undergraduates

What is GSOC-UAW Local 2110?

GSOC-UAW Local 2110 is the union that graduate employees at NYU have chosen to represent them in negotiations over terms and conditions of their employment since 1998. From 2002 to 2005, GSOCers were the first private university graduate employees to have ratified a union contract with their employer. After 2005, under President John Sexton, NYU chose to stop negotiating with GSOC after a decision by the George W. Bush-appointed National Labor Relations Board gave them that option, but we continued to organize for 8 years, eventually winning recognition from NYU through a private agreement and 98.4% “Union Yes” vote in a December 2013 election. To improve working conditions for our over 1200 working members any given semester, GSOC signed a new contract with NYU in March 2015 that will be in effect through August 31, 2020.

Why do graduate students need a union?

Graduate students lead precarious lives with relatively little funding, very heavy work-loads, little to no time for outside employment, and often daunting job prospects. This is one symptom of shifts occurring in higher education that also include a trend toward hiring adjunct and contingent faculty instead of tenure-track and the growth of a professional administrator class that replaces the shared governance model of faculty + administration that used to prevail in the US university system. Unionizing improves our living conditions (making us better teachers for you!) and gives us a vehicle to push back against these systemic changes in academic labor.

I heard about the planned strike of March 2015. Will that happen again?

The short answer: no. Our new contract prevents us from striking while it is in force. GSOC members will continue to mobilize around certain issues we deem important and may take direct action in other ways, but we will not strike. We are also very glad we did not have to strike in March 2015 to win a fair contract because we value our work with you as TAs, CAs, and graders and look forward to using the gains in our contract to improve our work with you in the classroom and lab.

I want to support my unionized grad student workers. How else can I help?

Your support means so much to us! Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and feel welcome to join us at rallies and other public events we will be holding. If you have a student group or campaign you would like us to support in turn, please get in touch with our Political Solidarity committee.