ACT-UAW Local 7902, comprised of Part-Time Faculty at the New School, has been on strike for 23 days—this makes the strike the longest strike of adjunct faculty in the nation's history. Part-time faculty are fighting for a fair contract that truly compensates them for their labor, their care, and their commitment to their students—which the New School administration has so far refused to offer.
Not only has the administration prolonged this strike, showing a complete disregard for its students, staff, and faculty it claims to care for, it offered nothing of substance. They have retaliated violently.
As of yesterday, all striking workers at the New School have their wages withheld, no access to healthcare benefits, as well as no added funds to their retirement plans. This decision risks the lives of our faculty—many of whom are caretakers, primary insurance holders, some even pregnant or have upcoming surgeries—and this is happening while New York City experiences a Covid-19 surge with over 40,000 cases in the past two weeks.
Students who work at The New School have also been notified that if they don’t cross the picket line they will be without pay as well. This applies to Federal Work Study employees—a disgusting move by the administration upon students who qualify based on financial need for the FWS grant as well as international students who rely upon on campus employment.
The administration has also attacked Full-Time faculty who are in solidarity with PTF, notifying them that they must sign “work certification” forms that they will hold class, and if they do not or are found to have not fulfilled what they sign on the form—they risk termination.
At all points, the administration of the New School is trying to break the solidarity that faculty and students have fostered—but we will not let them. This abuse of power by the administration is exemplary of a long history of New School Administrations betraying its founding mission, radical history, and declared values. However, enough is enough. The violent, manipulative, and cruel attacks from the administration upon every part of the New School community have left us with no choice but to escalate student action. This ends now.
We no longer recognize this administration as representative of the New School.
WE are The New School.
We will occupy the building day and night until the administration resumes pay, full healthcare protection, and retirement benefits to all school employees and until the university reaches a fair contract with part-time faculty. We do not take occupation lightly; this is a necessary response to the administration’s violent escalations.
We students will stand in solidarity without faculty who we love, trust, and demand that they will be treated and paid not only a livable wage and benefits—but that they are respected. The administration would like to believe that they can divide us, that we will allow them to exploit our faculty and our friends, but, if anything, this strike has shown us and the struggle for fair working conditions around the world, in UCs, in HarperCollins, in UCU, UK, among many others, that solidarity is forever. The administration cannot be allowed to continue operating as such.
WE are now occupying the New School University Center.
WE will win!