Research Analyst | Steinhardt
Community! Solidarity!! Justice!!! Those that power NYU through research deserve a livable wage—especially in one of the most expensive cities in the US—safe and affirming working environments, and structures for supporting their careers and lives at large. We need to create a community that has our best interests at heart; one that will ensure that not a single person is used, manipulated, or undervalued in their positions. This effort is a step towards the collective, liberatory action that is necessary for us to thrive in the work that we do at NYU.
PhD student | Center for Neural Science
The labor of graduate students, post-docs, research assistants and other non-tenured research positions crucially sustains the production of knowledge that is in such increasing high demand today. In many cases, our research is the basis for developing new products, from the tech to pharmaceutical industry. Increasing profits depends on a delicate balance between supply and demand, researchers represent specialized workers whose productivity calibrates this balance by defining the bounds of smart innovation. With a union, we can own our united worth within society and take responsibility over our economic and political power together.
PhD Student | Biology
I strongly believe one of the main reasons NYU is fails to reach strong standards for diversity and has not provided safe spaces for LGBTQIA+ and women is because they lack accountability. These shortcomings became even clearer during the national outcry with Black Lives Matter and after NYU Langone tried to hire David Sabatini. Our ancestors fought repeatedly for liberation, self-representation, and to prevent abuse of power; this fight is no different. Unionizing will give us a greater ability to finally hold NYU accountable and create a research environment that reflects our values as human beings and how we value ourselves.
Research Technician | Medicine
Staff technicians play an important role in research, and most labs cannot function properly without them. Yet, the wage paid to technicians is not sufficient to afford housing in Manhattan. This is especially bad for those of us who have time sensitive tasks at our labs since our commutes can easily exceed an hour. If we form a union, we can decide to negotiate over accessible housing opportunities for staff researchers.
Postdoctoral Fellow | Langone Health
Through a union, we don’t simply ask for a change, we would have a guaranteed voice to bargain as equals with NYU and make real improvements. The inadequate wages for researchers, the absence of a matching retirement plan, and the lack of avenues for employee participation in decisions that significantly impact us in the workplace are among the challenges faced by graduate students, postdocs, and other researchers at NYU. Even senior researchers need to wait a whole year to get NYU to contribute a small percentage to their retirement plan. As researchers and workers, it’s time to come together and build a safety net against unfair treatment, and to be able to participate in decision making processes to improve our work and help us to fight for broader social changes. The only effective way to ensure that our needs and demands are met is through organizing and engaging in collective bargaining.
Postdoctoral Associate | Physics & Chemistry
Being academics should not be synonymous with being underpaid, overworked, diminished, or worse, put in competition against each other. Unionizing is the best way for NYU researchers to speak as a unified front and strive for better, more equitable working conditions across the board. Let us make sure that every single one of us has the paychecks, benefits, and working conditions one would expect from one of the wealthiest universities in the world.
Postdoctoral Fellow | Neuroscience Institute
Every workplace needs a union—without them, workers have little power over their working conditions. NYU is a prestigious university, attributed in part to the quality research performed on its premises. This does not exist without the highly skilled labor of its researchers. For the university to remain competitive, NYU researchers must be compensated competitively. Without the collective decision-making power of NYU researchers, there is no guarantee that any of our needs will be met. Only with a union do we have a voice in the decisions made for our community.
Research Assistant | Law
NYU pays its president over a million dollars per year. Its endowment is over 5 billion dollars. Yet it does not pay its researchers a living wage. While researchers produce much of the academic work that makes NYU a world-renowned institution, law school research assistants are paid so little that many of us miss out on vital opportunities to build deep relationships with professors and gain experience through these positions. Having a union would allow researchers to fight for fair wages and equal opportunities for all law students–regardless of their economic circumstances–to work as RAs.
Postdoctoral Fellow | Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
We should not have to delay or sacrifice our wellbeing and security to perform research. Many researchers struggle to live due to NYC’s rising living costs that significantly outpace our pay. Despite this, the administration has remained largely unresponsive to requests for wages that keep pace with cost of living, and other forms of assistance. I support unionizing so that we can make sure researchers’ welfare and respect for socioeconomic diversity are treated as top priorities by NYU.
Damon Runyon Postdoctoral Research Fellow | Biology
When I accepted my fellowship I also accepted a roughly 15% loss in my total compensation, because NYU claimed I was no longer an employee and revoked my salary minimum and retirement package. Like many research universities, NYU benefits from the willingness of researchers to prioritize their careers by working for less than their worth, and capitalizes off of a misleadingly defined “training period” that can take~10 years or longer. With a union we will be able to demand the respect, protections, and benefits that we deserve as working professionals, and that we need as adults with young families and elderly parents to care for.
PhD Student | Biology
Research at NYU simply would not happen without the work of student workers, postdocs, and research staff. Despite our immense contributions towards NYU’s academic mission, our needs as the humans who do this research are not considered adequately. Forming a union will allow us to negotiate as equals with NYU for higher pay, guaranteed time off, and protections against power-based abuses. Through collective bargaining with our union, we will have the ability to create a better working environment so we can focus on doing the great science we all came here to do.
Research Scholar | Law
Knowledge is power. Research is power. Community is power.
When we unionize, we are not only able to gain bargaining power, we also create a space that intentionally disrupts the bureaucratic, maze-like system intentionally created by the University by building bridges between departments, schools, and campuses. Gaining awareness of the challenges fellow researchers are dealing with, in the face of devalued labor and power-based abuses, allows us to support each other with wisdom and first-hand experience, and, ultimately, a collective voice for our demands to be heard.
Postdoctoral Associate | Biology
NYU is one of the wealthiest universities in the country, one of the top property holders in the city, and the owner of an expansive medical/dental provider network. Yet many researchers at NYU are left struggling when it comes to pay, housing, and healthcare—the same researchers whose labor brings in the funding and attendant prestige that gives NYU this status in the first place. As research workers we deserve so much better, and having a union will give us more power and leverage to win better pay, benefits, and protections.
PhD Candidate | Immunology and Inflammation
Graduate students, while labeled as trainees, are treated as employees and expected to work a full-time schedule in the lab generating novel research. Post-docs, graduate students, and other research staff have made NYU School of Medicine’s #2 ranking for research in the country possible, yet we receive lower salaries and more expensive housing in comparison to other NYC institutions. We struggle to afford to live in the most expensive city in America. These inequalities have only been exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic. With our collective power as a union, we will be able to better negotiate for fair and equitable treatment of researchers, particularly for international workers and those with families.
PhD Student | Biomedical Engineering
Postdocs, grad students and associates are the driving force of the research ecosystem. Research is our passion and our livelihood—just because we choose this path for the glory of it doesn’t mean we don’t deserve decent working conditions. Too many talented researchers are leaving academia due to abysmal wages and benefits, abusive PIs, toxic lab cultures and a lack of organizational support. As a collective bargaining unit, we can work together to dismantle these hierarchical systems, and establish a new research culture.
PhD Student | Psychology
As student researchers, postdocs, and research staff, we often lack adequate pay, benefits, and protections against abuses of power, despite our contributions to NYU’s academic mission. Moreover, as workers whose labor brings in funding and prestige to NYU, we deserve to have a greater say in how the university operates. Unionizing will provide us with more power and leverage to negotiate for what we deserve.
Postdoctoral Associate | Center for Neural Science
There is an urgent need to radically alter the way our entire society is shaped, controlled and organised at every scale. All metrics available are showing this, from climate change to the increasingly authoritarian turns that many countries are taking worldwide. The solution to that is democracy. Unions, it so happens, are exactly about bringing democracy to the workplace. We all need better pay, benefits, transparency, protections, etc. But these are not the goals, only the means. By building a union, and winning those advances, we are creating the next step for a more profound and direct democracy at the larger societal level. Me, that’s what I’m really after.
Postdoctoral Fellow | Neuroscience Institute
Postdocs, grad students, and other research professionals in the lab perform nearly all research at NYU- research that brings in millions of dollars in grants and keeps the university and hospital systems running. Despite our dedication to our work and extensive training and expertise, we are still treated as less than other employees, and lack competitive compensation, parental leave, and robust protections from harassment and discrimination. Forming a union of researchers will allow us to fight together for a better, more equitable workplace.
PhD student | Electrical and Computer Engineering
When I first arrived at NYU as an international student, I found it challenging to navigate the complicated immigration and tax systems and was often unsure of my rights as an employee. I also personally know several international PhD students who were forced to work long hours without proper compensation, but were too afraid to speak up because they didn’t want to risk losing their job or jeopardizing their visa status. By forming a union of researchers, we can have a collective voice to negotiate with the university administration and ensure that our working conditions and compensation match the reputation and resources of NYU.
Junior Research Scientist | Steinhardt
Researchers are the lifeblood of any university. It is our passion and intelligence that forms the foundations of academic knowledge and it is that same passion that is routinely and systematically exploited. We need a union in order to build solidarity across labs, departments, and even disciplines more broadly. It’s time NYU lives up to its purported values and honors its workers.
PhD Candidate | Physics
Graduate researchers, postdocs, and research techs are the primary sources of scientific labor in the university. Without us, middle management (otherwise known as faculty) would be unable to justify their existence to funding agencies and the university administration alike. While this is the case, our material circumstances are maintained in a state of uncomfortable precarity, and our working conditions remain at the whims of our supervisors. We know that the only way to secure a living for ourselves is through collective bargaining. Those of us who were involved in the 2021 union fight for the graduate TAs, represented by GSOC-UAW, know that the administration will only listen to our needs if we pressure them through direct collective action. This is why we must form a union, and demand better working conditions.
PhD Student | Computer Science
When I gave birth, I was incredibly grateful that my advisor continued financial support while I took leave, alleviating the financial stress that comes with a new baby. However, NYU does not guarantee financial support for their researchers to take parental leave; each advisor decides whether to continue support individually, and there are no funds in place to support new parents whose advisors cannot continue support. With the power of a union, we can ensure that all new parents at NYU are given financial support during leave, and we can promote family-friendly policies for NYU’s researchers.
PhD Student | Neuroscience Institute
Unionizing enables job security that currently does not exist by protecting worker’s rights and preventing retaliation. A union at NYU will further promote economic equality and transparency and protect our most vulnerable populations (i.e., those on visas or contracts). Collective bargaining and action is undoubtedly the best and most empirically supported way to ensure that working conditions are improved by providing a safe and effective platform for research workers to have a voice.
PhD Student | Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
NYU offers access to education and research communities in one of the busiest cities in the world, but access alone is not a privilege for many workers. As graduate student researchers we are expected to act as much as any other full-time research employee at NYU, and we should be entitled to livable wages in one of the most expensive cities in the world, better access to housing, paid leave, and greater protections and transparency around abuses of authority in an already stressful environment. By unionizing we can unite as researchers at NYU and strengthen our position in demanding these rights.
Research Assistant | Law
I chose to attend NYU Law School because I wanted to pursue labor and employment law to advance the objectives of workers. But the University is not living up to its ideals in its treatment of its researchers, and they must be held to this higher standard. Research Assistants deserve better pay and benefits, especially given the cost-of-living in the city. I believe a union would allow us to fight for those goals in an effective way and bring together researchers across the NYU system to advance our collective interests going forward!
PhD Student | Center for Neural Science
Research workers are the source of NYU’s main revenue stream: research. However, we are not fairly compensated for our work, and don’t have a say in the actions of the University. By forming NYURU, we can create a more equitable hierarchy at NYU which gives voice to all workers. Such a system will make NYU a better place to work for everyone.
Postdoctoral Fellow | Biology
I am proud to be a part of the NYU research community and the incredible work we all do. However, we do not all receive the pay and benefits we deserve for our work, even when that work is done side by side. Furthermore, some university officials are compensated 10 to 100 times more than those of us conducting the research on which NYU has established its world class reputation. The university has had plenty of time to create an equitable system and has failed to do so. With collective bargaining we can build more power so that we can fix this imbalance.
Postdoctoral Fellow | Biology
Being an early career scientist often coincides with starting a family or caring for young children. This makes the demands at work and at home equally challenging. Additionally, the stress of a new family comes with increased financial pressure, especially in NYC. A union will help us to negotiate more family-friendly policies including better maternity leave policies and child-care benefits. This will enhance work-life balance and alleviate stress to make more successful scientists.
PhD student | Center for Data Science
I believe that NYU researchers deserve higher pay, more insurance coverage, and better housing assistance. We have to pay for wisdom tooth extraction out of pocket, worry about rent payment while waiting for conference travel reimbursement, and save for a dinner with friends with more well-paying jobs. We are expanding the frontier of human knowledge, yet many of us make the equivalent of the minimum wage when accounting for how much researchers work). I’m excited to unionize so we can negotiate collectively for better compensation – after all, we are essential for keeping NYU running!
PhD Student | Radiology
I am proud to be working alongside so many brilliant minds at NYU, but often the most brilliant researchers are compensated poorly, despite the fact that we generate the work that brings NYU prestige and funding. Add to that the frequent indignities of programs such as extra vacation time for donating blood (which is inaccessible to many LGBTQ employees) and food banks specifically for NYU PhD students. Meanwhile, NYU as one of the largest landlords in NYC is also large contributor to gentrification, displacing our communities. Forming a union will allow us to take on these issues – the most effective antidote is collective action.
Postdoctoral Fellow | Molecular Pathobiology
When I was a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University, I saw firsthand the benefits of research worker unionization, where collective bargaining allowed us to win increased salaries and benefits, as well as clear grievance procedures to promote better work environments. These efforts are needed at NYU, where researchers must make ends meet in what is now the most expensive city in the world. Although low salaries are partly explained by grant budgets, I believe that there is more NYU can do to support us. Workers with our depth of knowledge and skill are required to maintain the world class research community at NYU and we deserve better.
PhD Candidate | Microbiology
When NYU Langone considered hiring David Sabatini, a PI fired from MIT after violating their sexual harassment policy, we were shown that student safety was not a sufficient priority at NYU. When we came together to successfully protest his hiring, we showed how powerful and meaningful collective action can be. Employees deserve to feel safe in their working environments. Unionizing will further strengthen our power to hold NYU accountable, taking complaints seriously, and clearly stand against abusers.
PhD Candidate | Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
As a first-generation Latine PhD student, building a supportive and inclusive research community that celebrates individuals from diverse backgrounds is one of my main concerns. However, I have seen how some professors here treat their research staff unjustly, creating a highly stressful and unsafe working environment for unprotected workers. Despite NYU’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, these problematic professors are still maintained and even considered for future positions. This lack of internal accountability highlights the crucial need for researchers to unite and apply pressure on NYU to properly support their research staff. By coming together and taking collective action, we can create a stronger and more protected community that addresses NYU’s systemic issues.
Research Scientist | Silver School of Social Work
NYU’s willingness to treat researchers as disposable results in low morale and frequent turnover as talented staff leave for other opportunities where their contributions are recognized and respected. NYU has expressed its commitment to “its role as an engine of social mobility” and emphasized the “diverse backgrounds of our faculty, staff, and students.” As wealth inequality continues to grow, especially in large cities like New York, NYU has the opportunity to demonstrate these values in the realm of its workers’ rights and fair compensation as well. With a union we can advocate for these values, for ourselves and future generations of NYU researchers, because we shouldn’t have to choose between contributing to work we care about and making a fair wage.
Research Scientist | Cash Transfer Lab
Researchers, like all workers, deserve respect, fair pay and benefits, and accountability from our employer. NYU has refused to be responsive to the needs of researchers and continues to underpay and devalue the work of graduate student workers, postdocs, and technicians – despite the university being unable to function without our work. We need better protections and better pay and unionizing gives us the power we need to get NYU to meet these demands.
Research Analyst | Silver School of Social Work
A union would be beneficial for researchers at NYU as it would promote transparency and provide important information about where the grant money we help raise goes, as well as how benefits and privileges are distributed. With thousands of researchers coming together, we can leverage the power of collective bargaining to demand more information from NYU and ensure that our rights as workers are protected. By forming a union, we can access the legal right to more information from NYU, including data about pay, benefits, and funding allocations. This will enable us to make more informed decisions and advocate for fair treatment and equitable distribution of resources. A union would give us a collective voice in the decision-making process and ensure that our concerns and perspectives are heard. We can work together to negotiate fair wages, benefits, and working conditions, and ensure that our contributions to NYU are recognized and valued.
St. John Whittaker
PhD Student | Chemistry
Unionizing as the researchers at NYU brings us one step closer to a society where all people are paid what they deserve. We can work together to make NYU a school where research truly flourishes because we can dedicate ourselves to it fully, without splitting our focus on just making rent, for example. In this way, we can actually help NYU achieve its public image as a liberal R1 school.