N.Y.U. adjuncts are taking vote on strike action
By Albert Amateau
Adjunct professors at New York University are taking a strike-authorization vote this week in connection with their unions negotiations with the university that have been dragging on for 18 months.
United Auto Workers Local 7902, which won the vote in July 2002 to represent adjunct professors, will complete its strike-authorization balloting on April 12. The union hopes that a strike authorization by two-thirds or more of its members will force the university to spend more time at the bargaining table.
Were in mediation but we still have a long way to go, said Scott Summer, spokesperson for the local. This has been going on for 18 months and our members are fed up.
Martin Scheinman, a professional mediator, has been involved in the bargaining since Feb. 6.
John Beckman, university spokesperson, said, We believe weve been making progress with the mediation and it is our hope that the union continues to negotiate in good faith, With regard to a possible strike, Beckman said, Well cross that bridge when we come to it.
A few weeks ago, Beckman told The Villager that negotiations were trending in a favorable direction.
The undergraduate student newspaper, Washington Sq. News, had an article Tuesday about the universitys plan to carry on in case of a strike by adjuncts, who teach most of the classes. The N.Y.U. strike plan includes asking full-time professors to teach classes taught by adjuncts, according to W.S.N.
Beckman would not confirm or deny the truth of the article, but responded by saying, Our emphasis is to maintain the academic progress of our students and we expect the university community will respond to that priority.
In related news, New School University adjunct-faculty union organizers held a protest rally last night outside the Pierre Hotel on Fifth Ave., where the university was honoring soul singer Aretha Franklin. The organizers said they would demand some R-E-S-P-E-C-T to call attention to the universitys efforts to overturn a recent vote by the adjunct faculty to organize. The New School has 1,600 adjunct faculty members.