Good news for NYU grad students: Representatives voted 620 to 10 last night to unionize, and will become the first students at a private university who will bargain collectively for their work conditions (this is much less rare at public schools). The union falls under a branch of the United Auto Workers, one that represents 45,000 academic workers.
“We should be a major investment for the school,” said [NYU Phd student] Gharabaghi, whose son will soon be turning one. According to the agreement, NYU and union are supposed to immediately begin negotiating—they hope to have a completed contract by the end of the academic year—and one major priority for Gharabaghi is family healthcare benefits. He’s currently on a state-subsidized plan because NYU charges graduate students a 33 percent increase in dependent premiums. “I shouldn’t have to choose between my son and my PhD,” Gharabaghi said.