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May 18, 2022

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Victory for Local 153 Members at NYU
Updated On: Apr 20, 2022
Here are Chief Steward Susan J. Hermon, Steward Zavia Stewart, and Jonnett Romano, three of the members employed at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering.

The professional staff at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering approved a new contract that raises their wages and improves their benefits, ending nearly a year of difficult contract negotiations. The bargaining unit of 38 non-teaching employees voted unanimously to ratify the six-year contract on November 15, 2021.       

The agreement provides Local 153 bargaining unit employees with a variety of significant benefits including childcare subsidies, increased percentage in wages, portable tuition, and a discussion process through a Labor-Management Committee to develop a new remote work policy.     

“Our members achieved overwhelming success at negotiations because we were engaged and focused to achieve a fair and equitable contract,” said Susan Hermon, Chief Steward and program coordinator at Tandon’s Center for K-12 Stem Education. “We hope to build further improvements on our contract by remaining “Union Strong” and collectively active in the New York University community.”

During the summer, Local 153 members-organized under the slogan “We Are Violet too” — and called for the same tuition remission, child care assistance, increased wages, and a remote working policy for NYU faculty, other unions, and non-union employees.  

As reported by the Washington Square News, under the ratified contract, the bargaining unit employees will be receiving a 17.25% increase in base salary, a 2% increase over the previous 2015 contract. Additionally, the employees will be eligible to participate in NYU’s Portable Tuition Benefits Plan for faculty and non-union employees that includes a maximum annual $7,275 tuition reimbursement for children who attend an accredited college or university. Previously, these employees would only receive tuition remission if their dependents attended NYU.

“None of our kids were getting accepted into NYU which is the issue,” Hermon said. “In the last six years, none of our children were getting any tuition remission. Younger people with younger families now want to take advantage when their children don’t get into NYU and at least receive some form of assistance towards tuition to another educational institution.”    

Local 153 Senior Business Representative Seth Goldstein, who was one of the negotiators, slammed NYU’s current admissions policy. He said the employees’ original tuition remission plan contradicted the university’s commitment to diversity and inclusion by restricting children of working class families from affording college. 

“How do you have real classroom discussion if you don’t have working people there?” Goldstein asked, “Classicism is unfortunately alive and well at NYU.”

Hermon said the members’ victory highlights the power of unions. “Organized labor is at its best when we move an agenda forward based on equity and positive change,” she said.

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