NYU Graduate Students Say They Will Strike If Health Care and Wage Demands Are Not Met

Michael Gould Wartofsky
Grad students protest in front of NYU's Bobst Library before voting on a strike in fall 2014
The union that represents New York University's nearly 1,000 teaching and research assistants is threatening to strike on March 10 after months of fruitless bargaining negotiations with university officials.

The two sides are scheduled to meet tonight in a last-ditch effort to prevent the so-called "limited strike," which union members say would begin on March 10 and end on March 13. The Graduate Student Organizing Committee (GSOC) is asking for 100 percent healthcare coverage for its members, including family benefits; annual wage increases of 3.5 percent, in keeping with the rate of inflation; and tuition remission for Ph.D. candidates.

GSOC members are hoping the threat of a strike will push NYU to accept its conditions. On December 12, 2014, members voted almost unanimously in favor of a strike, to which the university responded with a few concessions, though it has not yet come close to meeting the union's demands. "Our successful strike vote and setting of the strike deadline has put more pressure on NYU," said Natasha Raheja, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology and a member of GSOC's bargaining committee. "It pushed them to offer us some greater material gains," such as increasing healthcare coverage from 50 to 70 percent.

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Food Workers' Union Authorizes a Strike of Stop & Shop Grocery Stores in the New York City Metro Area

Categories: Labor, Strikes

Gathering at Nassau County UFCW Local 1500 strike authorization meeting.
If you haven't done your grocery shopping yet, now might be the time to stock up. On Monday at roughly 7:30 p.m., workers of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500 authorized a strike of Stop & Shop supermarket, which employs 5,500 workers represented by the union. The strike would shut down stores on Long Island, New York City, Westchester, Putnam, and Duchess counties.

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As Fast Food Workers Walked Off the Job, Giant Industry Lobbying Groups Tried To Convince Us How Awful a Living Wage Would Be

Image via New York Communities For Change
Striking fast food workers in Union Square yesterday.
A summer of protests over fast food workers' impossibly low wages reached its boiling point yesterday, when employees in New York and 49 other cities walked off the job in a one-day strike. In Lower Manhattan, our own Raillan Brooks interviewed Tyeisha Batts, a 27-year-old Burger King worker who makes a staggering $150 a week. Meanwhile in an alternate, much plusher universe, several juggernaut industry lobbying groups waged a media blitzkreig, claiming that low wages are good for people like Batts. In fact, they argued, raising the minimum wage to $15 or even $10 an hour would hurt her and other "low-skilled workers" by denying them "the opportunity to get a job and receive 'on the job' training."

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Fast Food Workers Clog the Streets of Lower Manhattan for Fair Wages and Union Rights

Categories: Labor, Strikes

Lining the sidewalks of the block of Nassau Street between Fulton and John, fast food workers, community supporters, and labor organizers protested against unfair wages and lack of job protections. With chants of "hey hey, ho ho, the poverty wage has got to go" and "workers united, will never be defeated," dozens of people stood outside the Wendy's at 85 Nassau Street in the Financial District.

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You Want a Living Wage With That? Fast Food Workers of N.Y.C. Prep for Another Strike

Categories: Strikes

Photo Credit: Cresny via Compfight cc
In Prospect Park on Wednesday, during a demonstration scheduled to coincide with the last time the minimum wage was raised--four years ago--New York City's fast food workers authorized another citywide strike.

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Workers Strike Across the City in Biggest Fast-Food Strike in History

Categories: Labor, Strikes

"I make $7.25. I can't afford a Big Mac meal," said Stephen Warner, who works at a Manhattan McDonalds.
It was still dark when the fast-food workers began gathering outside the McDonald's just north of Times Square yesterday morning. Carrying signs that read "Strike for higher pay for a stronger New York," they lined up outside the restaurant, where workers from the night shift were still on the job. Some of those outside were scheduled to take over for the day shift, but they wouldn't be going in. Instead, they were taking part in the largest strike of fast-food workers in history, as roughly 400 workers from franchises across the city picketed to demand better treatment, a union, and wages of $15 an hour.

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Union Insists Mayor Holds Ultimate Power to End School Bus Strike

Leaders of the Amalgamated Transit Union hosted a town hall teleconference last night to clarify facts surrounding the school bus strike -- facts that they argue have been distorted by the Bloomberg administration and the media.

Last night's telephone town hall was held for the constituents of City Councilman Jumaane Williams who represents District 45 in Brooklyn. It marked the first of what the union plans to be a series of many telephone town halls hosted in conjunction with politicians representing various districts across the city.

"It's in the mayor's hands to end this," Michael Cordiello, president of ATU Local 1181, said during the teleconference. "Quite frankly we've been trying to reach out to the mayor for over a year. It was quite clear from both sides, the companies and the union, that the mayor holds the key to ending the strike."

Getting Mayor Michael Bloomberg to sit down at the negotiation table remains a faint hope for the union and the bus operators. Although the mayor helped broker Monday's meeting between Local 1181, the bus operators and a mediator, Bloomberg maintains his position that it's up to the union to negotiate with bus companies for the Employee Protection Provision that the strikers want to preserve.

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Students and Families Suffer Most In Bus Strike and City Has Itself to Blame

Thumbnail image for school bus .jpg
As more than 8,000 school bus drivers and matrons formed picket lines around the city this morning, some 152,000 students and their families were forced to find alternative means of transportation in the pouring rain.

Jackie Ceonzo, mother of a 17-year-old autistic son, had to find a way to get her son from their home in the Upper West Side of Manhattan to his school located downtown in Chelsea -- all the while battling the flu and nasty weather.

"You know what the worst part is? It's that my son doesn't understand, and he loves the bus," Ceonzo tells the Voice. "So, the worst part is telling him that there's no bus coming and he's still in school. He's autistic so he's going to be so jammed up... It's not like I can just get on the subway with him."

For Ceonzo, as with the families of the some 54,000 other special-needs students affected by the strike, the journey won't be as simple as hopping on public transportation or jumping in a cab.

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Strike Averted! (For Now); Longshoremen and Container-Carriers Agree to Negotiation Extension

Categories: Strikes

Longshoremen workers at ports along the East and Gulf Coasts were set to go on strike Sunday. That's before their union agreed to extend contract negotiations with the U.S. Maritime Alliance for at least another month.

In other words, we were threatened with the frightening prospect of losing out on the fresh shipment of consumer goods such as televisions, sneakers and video-games -- and, to be fair, actual necessary goods as well.

Lest we forget, the marine shipping industry is big business, and longshoreman facilitate the transfer of goods shipped by water to the U.S. The 14,000-plus worker strike could have led to billions of dollars in losses nationwide and millions of dollars in losses to our region alone.

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Relax, Holiday Travelers, JFK Airport Security Guards Call Off Their Strike

Diana Eliazov
Prince Jackson announced last night that the JFK security strike has been called off.
If you're planning on flying in or out of JFK over the next few days, the rumblings of an imminent strike by contracted security guards at the airport starting scheduled to start tomorrow might have given you some concern.

(Alternately, even if you weren't doing holiday flying, the idea that the people responsible for airport safety make poverty wages, don't get sick days, and often lack adequate training and equipment might also have given you some concern.)

Either way, you can breathe a little easier, as the security officers have announced that they're calling off the strike after the Port Authority intervened.

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