Industry bracing for the impact of grad student unionization
- The New York Times offers an editorial insight on the impact of graduate student unionization, which at New York University in 2001, resulted in significant gains for employees until 2005, when the agreement expired.
- After collective bargaining, NYU graduate students' salaries rose from a $10,000 annual stipend to $18,000 for doctoral candidates, and led to a 15% increase for employees earning the salary minimum.
- NYU also offered full health benefits and subsidies for teaching and assignment grading. Additionally, the school financed benefits for child care and enhanced policies for harassment and complaint procedures.
Other institutions have dabbled with increased benefits for graduate students, but ultimately, but costs have prompted universities to balk without the pressure of unionization. Most campuses still have enough leverage to force a tougher fight against union attempts, specifically along the idea of campus credit balances suffering under increasing costs. But with federal legislators getting involved on the side of graduate students' rights and access, the fight becomes much more difficult for institutions.
College leaders should be careful in considering the adjunct unionization effort, which represents more than 75% of the total academic workforce, and whose standards may apply in many areas to the work of teaching assistants.
- New York Times Unions knocking on the academy's doors