Responding to NYU’s perpetuation of inaccuracies regarding GSOC’s Strike

SLAM is not only disappointed but also outraged by the misinformation being spread by the NYU administration regarding Provost David McLaughlin’s email today at 12:44pm. We are rallying at 4pm in Bobst to demand he meets with students!

You can find his original message here and our response directly below

1. David McLaughlin claims the University recognized the union voluntarily.
 
The University BUSTED the union in 2005, and only agreed to recognize it again after YEARS of diligent organizing on campus, despite a majority of grad workers repeatedly voting for union representation. 
2. David McLaughlin claims the University has bargained in good faith and intends to continue to do so.
 
The University was intransigent for almost a year. It recently hired a mediator to help get graduate workers to demand less. Presumably even the mediator was appalled at the University’s behavior. I’ve attended bargaining sessions; the petulance of University bargainers like General Counsel Terry Nolan is shocking and unacceptable.
 
3. David McLaughlin presents misleading numbers and gives the impression that “fully-funded PhD students” are spoiled crybabies.
First of all, they’re not. Even “fully-funded” PhD students are denied adequate health care, childcare, and benefits. My friend Sean is a fully-funded PhD student in a language department; he recently had to chose between having emergency dental surgery and attending an academic conference. He chose the conference, because he prioritized education over health. He is still living with pain.
Second off all, fully-funded PhD students are only part of the bargaining unit. Hundreds of grad workers have lower paid, precarious positions and those that are international students are banned from working off campus. Masters workers at Poly make less than a living wage, despite being overworked in labs. Some don’t even have a place to stay because their wages are so abysmal.

NYU Students Hold Sit-In, Rally To Cut JanSport: Administrators promise quick response

NYU Student Labor Action Movement sitting-in at the welcome center to get NYU to cut the contract with JanSport

NYU SLAM  sitting-in at the Welcome Center to get NYU to cut the contract with Jan Sport.

After repeated letter deliveries, a die-in, a vigil, a speakout with workers from Bangladesh and a faculty sign-on letter with 60 signatures, members of the NYU Student & Labor Action Movement held a sit-in today to repeat the demand that NYU cut its contract with JanSport over concerns about workers’ rights. Students occupied the Welcome Center from 1 pm to 5 pm, asking the NYU administration to meet with them. At 5 pm, students met with two Senior Vice Presidents, who assured SLAM that a decision will be made early next week.

Throughout the day, 30 students came to the Welcome Center to sing, chant and hand out information to passers-by about the protest. While students occupied the Welcome Center, 200 community members on the Immigrant Worker Justice Tour rallied outside in support of students’ demands.

“We believe cutting our contract with JanSport is necessary until VF does the right thing in Bangladesh,” NYU student Adriana Gonzalez said.

As a subsidiary of VF Corporation, JanSport is connected to VF’s 100 factories in Bangladesh. United Students Against Sweatshops, of which SLAM is an affiliate, has been demanding VF sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in light of recent tragedies in Bangladesh, such as the Rana Plaza collapse. Over 1200 workers have died in industrial disasters in Bangladesh’s garment industry in the last two years.

“We are confident NYU will do the right thing and cut its contract with JanSport,” said NYU student Iraj Eshghi.

Faculty to Sexton: Cut JanSport!

Today, 60 NYU faculty members sent a letter to President JCut JanSportohn Sexton asking the administration to end its contract with JanSport because the brand has failed to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety. Over 1200 workers have died in the past two years in preventable factory fires and collapses in Bangladesh and the Accord is a legally binding agreement brands can sign to prevent such tragedies.

The NYU administration has maintained that it will not end its contract with JanSport because the brand itself does not produce for NYU in Bangladesh, although JanSport’s parent company has nearly 100 factories there.

Students and faculty agree–these kind of technicalities can’t stand in the way of worker safety. It’s time for NYU to cut JanSport!

Read the full letter.

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We Demand Solutions to the Student Debt Crisis

Finding solutions to the student debt crisis has to become the number one priority for American universities. American student loan debt exceeds $1.2 trillion. The problem is especially bad at NYU: last year’s graduating class had more collective debt than that of any other non-profit school in the country, with an average of about $35,000 of debt.

Because of its large size, location, and the powerful people associated with it, NYU stands as a model for schools across the country. The question is what trend will NYU set? Will we continue down the path of the corporate university, where education is treated like a commodity reserved for those who can afford it? Or will we make the hard changes necessary to put the needs of students, our families, faculty, and other workers at the center of our education system?

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Why undergrads should care about the GSOC election

By Iraj Eshghi

gsoc-voteyesFor too long now, NYU neglected the rights of its graduate students. By refusing to recognize their union–GSOC-UAW–and giving them no say in how things are done, the administration was essentially keeping a large part of their workforce and student body silent. However, we have recently learned that the administration has finally decided to allow GSOC to hold an election, and I, as an undergraduate, find this to be very refreshing. Why? Here are a few reasons: Continue reading

Victory! NYU has taken the first step in ending deathtraps

John Sexton’s office has just announced that he’s going to implement the changes in NYU’s code of conduct recommended by the recent University Senate resolution fought for by SLAM. By requiring NYU licensees producing in Bangladesh to sign on to the Accords, we’re helping make garment industry workplaces safer and supporting worker power around the world.

NYU is one of the first schools in the country to commit to making these changes, so we’re helping set an example for colleges across America.

We’d like to thank everyone who helped to make this victory  possible- all the students and other supporters who came out to our letter deliveries, our die-in at the University Senate, our action at one of Sexton’s town halls, and our caroling for workers’ rights event!

SLAM holds ‘die-in’ to End Deathtraps

Students demand NYU take action for Bangladesh factory safety

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On Thursday, October 3, ten students from the NYU Student & Labor Action Movement (SLAM) held a die-in outside the University Senate prior to the Senate’s meeting. As the students lay down holding pictures of workers who died in a factory collapse in Bangladesh in April, they had one goal in mind: to insist NYU to take action for workers’ rights now. Over 1100 workers lost their lives when the Rana Plaza building collapsed, and SLAM is currently fighting to make sure something like that does not happen again to the workers who produce the NYU apparel in Bangladesh. To SLAM, the crisis of worker safety in the garment industry has reached a breaking point.

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SLAM kicks off the End Deathtraps campaign!

SLAM delivers letter to university

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by Cassandra Cassillas for Washington Square News

The NYU Student and Labor Action Movement met in the lobby of Bobst Library yesterday afternoon to deliver a letter to NYU President John Sexton. The 12 students from SLAM were rewarded when the letter [read it!] was personally accepted by Lynne Brown, the senior vice president of university relations.

The letter demanded that NYU ask the brands that produce the university’s apparel to sign the Accord on Fire and Safety in Bangladeshi factories and to terminate contracts with brands that do not comply.

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Victory for students and workers

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By Daniel Hinton

Two years since the closing of the PT Kizone factory, located in Tangerang, Indonesia, Adidas has settled with garment workers and agreed to pay them legally owed severance packages. The details of the settlement remain confidential. According to a news release, Adidas will provide a substantial sum to the former factory workers, who have agreed to drop their lawsuit filed in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin-Madison against the company in Wisconsin state courts.

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Sign the petition to cut NYU’s adidas contract!

Adidas, which is licensed to make apparel for NYU, has refused to pay $1.8 million in legally owed severance to 2,800 workers who were laid off at Adidas supplier PT Kizone in Indonesia. Adidas’s refusal to pay severance is a violation of NYU’s code of conduct for licensees, which mandates that companies licensed to produce university apparel follow all labor and environmental laws in countries where their goods are produced. Sign here.