Strike Announcement, 13 May 2018

Today, the Bargaining Committee sent out the following message to our members:

Dear SENS members,

After a phenomenal four day strike this week, we have engaged with members extensively over the last 36 hours to seek their input on the path forward. This engagement has included meetings, one on one conversations, an electronic straw poll and phone banks. We will also be having a further Organizing Committee meeting on Tuesday from 11-1 in the Social Justice Hub. Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond to us.

While we have been successful in shifting the administration from their initial economic proposal of April 12, the reality is we remain far apart in our understanding of what amounts to a fair contract for academic student workers. Accordingly, while we will certainly make ourselves known at graduation and through continued direct action, we will not continue the strike on Monday.

The university has still not recognized how important healthcare is, and continues to offer insufficient proposals on other economic matters. We believe that continuing the strike next week will not change this dynamic sufficiently to reach an agreement this semester.

We will be offering the University bargaining dates this week in good faith. More importantly we must plan and strategize on how to build on this powerful foundation of solidarity and strength in order to come back strong in the Fall prepared to negotiate at the bargaining table, raise our voices, strike our labor and disrupt the campus for a fair contract. We encourage everyone to come to Tuesday’s OC meeting, where we will discuss further actions.

Over the week of the strike we had incredible picket line captains leading chants until they had no voice, making sure people were fed, watered and sun screened, and keeping us all safe. We shamed The New School on the streets of New York City and on a national level, which will have lasting impact and is impetus for further disruption. Our voices have been heard even on the floor of the U.S. Senate. And we successfully engaged the broader New School community to educate them on the legitimacy and importance of our struggle. We also want to say how much we enjoyed the food prepared in the New School cafeteria this week, acknowledge those who cooked it, and express our hope that a way can be found to continue this radical experiment in the new academic year.

Mostly, we want to express a huge thank you to everyone who showed up to the picket line, who struck their work, and to the many faculty who rearranged their classes and helped make this strike such a success. When the call went out, it was answered, and answered loudly.

As Senator Bernie Sander said in his letter of 10 May 2018 to President Van Zandt, “It is critically important that colleges and universities recognize the significant contributions these workers make by supporting their right to form unions, engage in collective bargaining, and negotiate contracts that provide essential benefits like health care.” We have been incredibly inspired by the energy, enthusiasm and solidarity we have seen on the picket line. We remain immovably committed: we will not let this administration perpetuate a status quo built on the exploitation of precarious student labor.

We know our worth. We know our strength. And we are not done.

In solidarity,
SENS-UAW Bargaining Committee