Mar 8, 2024 | News Story

Academic Student Workers at the New School Are On Strike!

After more than six months of bargaining their successor contract, teaching fellows, teaching assistants, course assistants, research assistants, and tutors at The New School, represented by United Auto Workers (UAW), went on strike Wednesday, with supporters including the CLC joining them for their first day on the picket line. Having authorized their strike with 94% voting yes, and a historic 77% of members participating, academic student workers have a powerful mandate for its work stoppage. For over half a year the workers have bargained continuously and in good faith with The New School. The university, meanwhile, has dragged its feet, and offered insulting poverty wages in a time of skyrocketing inflation.

Less than one year after their professors walked off the job for 25 days, academic student workers began negotiating the terms of their new union contract. The workers are asking for higher wages and improved health care, alongside workplace and standard of living reforms like access to a childcare fund and better support for international students. Unlike many graduate students in the U.S., most at The New School pay tuition and do not receive stipends. The average academic student worker makes about 11K per year, and none make more than 24K. This is a special hardship for international students who are restricted from most forms of off-campus work. Academic student workers do not earn a New York City living wage and none make enough to afford even a shared apartment within a 90-minute commute from campus. To be an academic student worker at The New School is to be in a state of near constant financial anxiety.

Academic student workers are 6.5% of the total workforce at The New School. They are asking for a compensation and health care package that would be worth less than 1% of the university’s operating budget. The university’s last insulting compensation offer for the over 500 workers, which wouldn’t even begin to address their financial hardship, is for less than what New School executives made in bonuses alone in 2022. Read more here!