NYDN Editorial on NYU Strike

The New York Daily News has published an editorial on the NYU GA strike that I found to be particularly succinct and to the point. I happen to agree with the editorial so I warn you I’m biased to it’s reasoning.

I agree that these GA’s are learning a hard lesson in life – you don’t always get what you want no matter how much noise you make. Higher education is a big business. NYU is going to do what’s best for NYU regardless of what student unions say. The very fact that NYU GA’s are allowed to have a union at all is pretty amazing.

The editorial is short and added below:

Out of the ivory tower

New York University's graduate assistants are learning a valuable life lesson: You don't always get want you want.

The grad assistants, who aid professors in the classroom, have been on strike since Nov. 8, demanding a new contract. But last year, the National Labor Relations Board decided it goofed when it ruled in 2000 that grad students are employees entitled to collective bargaining. So NYU, the first - and only - private university in the country with unionized graduate students, has given them until Monday to return to their teaching duties. And well they should.

NYU's 1,000 grad assistants are the cream of its master's and Ph.D. students, chosen to help professors teach because they might well become professors themselves someday. For 20 hours a week of classroom-related work, they get at least a $19,000 stipend with guaranteed raises, free tuition and free health insurance. They get the money and benefits even for semesters when they don't teach.

That's a good deal. And NYU has committed to maintaining it. What the university will not put up with is further disruption of classes for undergraduates, who pay $31,000 a year in tuition alone. When the grad assistants get their degrees and are hired for faculty positions, they'll become employees with bargaining rights. But until then, they are students. That's the way the real world works.

Tim Stelloh @ December 5, 2005 - 9:16pm

It might be amazing that only one private university had a graduate student union, but lots of public universities have them. So in terms of it being a radical idea--if that's what you meant when you said it's "amazing"--it's not. You can check out which universities have graduate unions at http://www.umich.edu/~umgeo/GradDir/Directory.html.

Anonymous (not verified) @ December 6, 2005 - 12:15am

Actually, the GAs aren't allowed to have a union. The strike is about their right to one.

Anonymous (not verified) @ December 6, 2005 - 12:31am

Ah, yes, the Daily News, a bastion of "real world" insight. From the good folks who brought us "State of the union not Bon Jovial for Sambora, Locklear", this week, comes wisdom on union politics. Thank heavens! I thought that the debate might have slipped into logic.

Gracias, Melanie, for making sure that we all remain safely in the wading pool of intellectual discourse.

melanie (not verified) @ December 31, 2005 - 5:32pm

hey, anonymous, news is what they say it is. whether you think the NYDN is reputable or not, they did write a pointed article on the NYU strike. somebody had to for goodness sake!

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