As the TWU's contract is back on the table, Grad students at NYU are still on strike. Back in December, when I went out on the TWU picket line, I met a striking NYU student whose Dad was a transit worker. With two strikers in the family, she knew both the high stakes and the hardship that come from the last resort that is the strike.
Lest we forget that this strike is on - book delivery men are honoring picket lines, which means that books were piling up outside the bookstore - the NYU administration has upped the stakes and cut off funding from some of the striking grad students in retaliation for their participation in the strike. This has only made NYU grad students and their supporters more determined. The activists at NYU are having meetings, organizing public events, rallies and a major strike-support fundraising drive as the Spring semester begins.If you have money to spare, it would help the grad students if you donated to the hardship fund.
Although this climate is tough for unions, I can't imagine that this move will do anything except win sympathy for the grad students. As "nerds on strike" (linked above) notes, several important institutions, including the Flaherty International Film Seminar, - and even the head of GHI's HMO, are now refusing to participate in events at NYU.
But, as usual, despite the word that "New York Is a Union Town" there are plenty of people who selfishly attack workers for demanding MORE from their bosses. I read a few popular blogs about NYC and I see a people still complaining about "how good the transit workers" have it and how inconvenient the strike was. I see NYU undergrads (only a few) writing letters to the NYU paper about how "selfish" the grad students living on poverty wagse at NYU are to ask for MORE.
What is this, Oliver Twist?
I wonder if this bullshit arbitration call from the MTA, which will surely be bad for workers if it goes through, and this even more harsh punishment for NYU's grad students represents more than a typical management response to a labor upsurge. I think that public support for the strikers is essential, and that we may all be called upon to get out in big numbers not just for the striking grad students, but for our hard-working transit workers.