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Morning Spew

Mondays Are for Workers Getting the Goods

A strike ends, capping a momentous year of labor action in NYC, and other links to start your day.

The picket line at the New School last week. (Hell Gate)

Over the weekend, the New School adjunct faculty workers of ACT-UAW Local 7902 reached a tentative agreement with their employer, ending a 25-day strike that put almost all classes at the New School on pause. Workers had been pushing for pay raises, more job security, and better health benefits. The strike saw escalating tactics on both sides—as New School management moved to cut off health benefits from strikers, students in solidarity with their professors stormed into University Center, occupying the building during the last days of the strike. The New School, which runs its operations almost entirely on the backs of adjunct, part-time professors, finally buckled over the weekend, agreeing to the demands of higher wages, paid family leave, compensation for prep work and grading done outside the classroom, and back pay for work done during the pandemic. 

Despite quoting academics who would almost certainly be against every action they took during the strike, New School management found themselves increasingly isolated—as parents, students, and their own full-time faculty rose up against them—and facing the prospect of an unfinished semester. The victory by the strikers follows on similar gains by adjunct professors at New York University (who authorized a strike, but eventually reached an agreement).

The actions at the New School capped a year of fervent labor activity in New York, focused primarily in non-industrial sectors. From dozens of Starbucks, to the shocking Amazon warehouse victory on Staten Island, to the New York Times, and even climbing gyms and safe injection sites, workers in New York are leading the way in union activity, joining unions at ten times the rate of the national average

Still, a long road lies ahead for many of these unionizing groups—the New School workers had already secured a contract, and were fighting for a new, better one. But workers at places like Amazon JFK8, VITAL climbing gyms, and Starbucks, are now fighting for their first contracts, something management seems dead set on still stopping—no matter how illegal it might be. And with an understaffed and underfunded National Labor Relations Board trying to keep management from infringing on workers' rights, workers will have to keep fighting well beyond their union elections. For inspiration, they could ask the part-time faculty at the New School if it was all worth it.

Some winning links for your morning:

  • On Saturday, the New York Young Republicans Club held its annual gala and it was a who's who of the far-right.
  • And it seems Queens Councilmember Vickie Paladino had a good time.
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