March 20, 2015
By Marc Bussanich
New York, NY—The president of the UAW local representing adjuncts at the New School rallied with a placard that let passerby know that The New School is a higher education institution, not a corporation. In the accompanying video, Emily Barnett explains why she and her colleagues were demonstrating the college.
Ms. Barnett is president of the ACT-UAW Local 7902 that represents over 4,000 part-time and adjunct teachers at The New School and New York University. She’s been teaching in higher education since the 1980s.
“We’re here fighting for a fair contract. The administration is offering very little. They’re offering puny and measly raises, only 1 and 1.5 percent. They think we’re going to be dancing in the streets when they give us a $50 lump sum. But we have news for [the New School’s] President Van Zandt, we’re smarter than that. We don’t want that lump sum. We want an increase in our salary, and we want affordable health care premiums. They want to raise them sky high and that’s unacceptable and unaffordable for our part-time faculty,” said Barnett.
She also noted that the administration wants to hire faculty to teach part time that wouldn’t be included in the bargaining unit because the administration is claiming that they have special prominence in their respective fields.
“I have more news for President Van Zandt. We are special, we are prominent in our fields and we will not allow them to hire part-time faculty outside the bargaining unit.”
While the adjuncts are trying to win a new contract, graduate students at The New School are tying to be recognized as a union. And they received some good news last week. After the city’s regional director for the National Labor Relations Board dismissed on February 6 Columbia University’s graduate students’ petitions for union recognition, the NLRB overruled that decision on Friday and reinstated the petitions.
See our video interview with one of The New School graduate students explaining why they are seeking union recognition.