The good news…our election is only days away, Wednesday, May 3 & Thursday, May 4, and support and excitement is growing. Our commitment to building a union is stronger than ever. We are inspired by the accomplishments of our unionized colleagues at other universities and the part-time faculty here at The New School.
The not so good news…the administration continues to engage in legal machinations to obstruct our election.
Yesterday, President Van Zandt sent a message to the entire university community. The collegial tone of his message is at odds with the legal campaign the administration has waged against our union. President Van Zandt says that the New School “look[s] forward to hosting the election.” Yet, for two and a half years, the administration has blocked our efforts to form our union. We have won every legal fight, but enormous time, energy and valuable resources have been wasted.
In his message, President Van Zandt downplays the administration’s appeal, “The New School also has asked the NLRB to review one, limited aspect of its recent decision….” But in its legal filing the administration asks the NLRB to overturn the decision and disenfranchise voters. In fact, the University argues on nearly every page of its brief
that the majority of the student workers found eligible by the NLRB to vote in the election should be barred from participating in the union, saying “…there could be no finding that there is an expectation of recurring employment of Graduate Assistants at The New School, except for the few fully-funded students…”(page 10). The university has had months to make these arguments. It is a common approach that employers take to defeat unionization by their employees.
We are confident that when the ballots are counted we will have won by a significant margin, like our colleagues at Columbia and NYU. Unfortunately, The New School has persuaded the NLRB to challenge the ballot of every voter on the eligibility list during the election. This is unprecedented in the history of NLRB elections. It appears that The New School will be known in corporate circles for having achieved a new way to fight unions – “The New School Challenge”. This will be the labor relations legacy of President Van Zandt and his administration and will be a significant stain on The New School’s progressive history.
We will not be turned back. We will honor The New School’s truly enlightened mission by voting UNION YES next week.
We look forward to celebrating when the election concludes next Thursday. But once the polls close, let’s all commit to fighting for the ballots to be counted and for negotiations to commence in good faith.
SENS-UAW organizing committee