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NYU adjuncts vote union

By Andrew Jagunich | July 26, 2002 | Page 11

NEW YORK--After a two-year unionization drive, adjunct faculty at New York University (NYU) voted to join Adjuncts Come Together-UAW on July 9.

This is only the most recent labor activity at NYU. Last year, graduate teaching assistants won the right to organize, becoming the first group of student workers to have a union contract with a private university.

Adjuncts are part-time professors who make up roughly 70 percent of NYU's 5,600-member teaching force. But they only get paid an average of $2,000-$3,000 for each class they teach, and they receive no health benefits. Many of them have taught at NYU for 10 or 20 years.

"It's supposed to be a place where people think on a higher plane," Martha Bordman, an adjunct in NYU's American Language Institute, told Socialist Worker. But, she said, the university's treatment of workers "shows that NYU is in favor of exploitation."

NYU has responded to the adjuncts' challenge with hypocrisy. Just after the ballots were mailed for the July 9 vote, it announced the creation of as many as 13 full-time positions in the American Language Institute, where there had been only a handful of full-time jobs. These new lecturers would take over most of the work that more than 40 adjuncts now do, putting them out of work.

"It was done to whittle away at the bargaining unit," Bordman said. The union has filed an unfair labor practice complaint with the NLRB. "We're not against full-time jobs, and the union's not against full-time jobs, but we're against the annihilation of adjuncts in entire departments."

For more information on the adjunct's struggle, visit the Web site www.nyuactuaw.org.

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