Liberal NYC Arts School Will Withhold Wages From Striking Workers

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Liberal NYC Arts School Will Withhold Wages From Striking Workers

Alexa Schwerha on December 6, 2022

The New School (TNS), a left-leaning arts school in New York City, will begin withholding wages from striking faculty starting Wednesday, according to an email posted on Twitter by TNS Associate Professor and Department of Economics Chair Sanjay Reddy.

TNS Executive Vice President for Business and Operations Tokumbo Shobowale informed faculty of the decision, according to the Twitter thread posted on Tuesday. The email, which Reddy obtained, claimed that the school would withhold wages and pause health benefits and retirement for all faculty that did not return to the classroom as the strike enters its fourth week.

The school claimed it could no longer afford to pay faculty that continued on the picket line, according to the email obtained by Reddy.

“We do not take the decision to withhold pay lightly. We continue to respect the rights of any employee who elects to engage in a strike,” the email obtained by Reddy said. “However, we can’t afford to continue to pay wages for individuals who are no longer working and must carefully reallocate those resources to implement measures that ensure our students’ academic needs are met.”

@thenewschool now appears to threaten not to pay full-time faculty engaged in solidarity actions with striking part-time faculty…(1/2).. pic.twitter.com/NYNkA08QSh

— Sanjay G Reddy (@sanjaygreddy) December 5, 2022

UAW Local 7902, a union of academic workers at TNS, tweeted Tuesday afternoon that its bargaining team completed its “latest supposal to management” this morning and a mediation has been scheduled for Wednesday morning. However, it pledged the “strike and picketing [would] continue.”

Our bargaining team worked until 4 am and reconvened at 8 am this morning to finish our latest supposal to management

Management has heard our supposal and will get back to us.

We have mediation scheduled for tomorrow as well

Meanwhile, the strike and picketing continue

— UAW Local 7902 (@UAW7902) December 6, 2022

Part-time faculty began the strike on Nov. 16 to demand higher wages, the New York Post (NYP) reported. The union’s initial proposal cost upward of $1 billion for a five-year contract, which the university claims “represents approximately 67% of the total salary expense for all employees during the 5-year period.”

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“The $1B proposal is an average of approximately $200m per year. The current CBA expenditures per year are estimated to be $64M, so the initial proposal requested represents an increase of over 200% per year,” TNS wrote in its “Compensation & Financial Highlights.”

TNS encouraged students to continue their courses by using classroom syllabi and online resources to complete assignments, according to the NYP.

TNS did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment. Shobowale could not be contacted.

Liberal NYC Arts School Will Withhold Wages From Striking Workers

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