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The New School

Strike At The New School Spawned An Ongoing Radical Coalition

Though the 25-day labor strike of part-time faculty at The New School, a private university in New York City, ended three months ago, the university administration’s hardball approach has not been forgotten. A student-led coalition that emerged in solidarity with the striking adjunct faculty is still going strong. And with the school’s graduate students set to begin their own contract negotiations with the university later this year, the coalition could potentially add pressure to the university administration to bargain in a different manner than it did with the part-time faculty union. The coalition is certainly poised to rally support during a strike if no agreement is reached before the graduate students’ contract expires.

The New School’s Quest For Community Self-Governance

Established more than a century ago, The New School was set up in New York City as a haven for academic freedom and intellectual inquiry. As a private, progressive, research university, it now has five divisions – design, liberal arts, performing arts, social research, and public engagement – and is home to the Platform Cooperativism Consortium. Founded on the principles of community self-governance and social justice, The New School, through a historic strike fueled by the solidarity of its faculty, students, and staff, has secured better pay and health insurance for its part-time faculty. Though the strike has ended, the echoes of its impact continue to reverberate through the halls of the university.

How Part-Time Faculty Won Their Strike At The New School

At midnight on Dec. 10, part-time faculty at The New School and Parsons School of Design officially suspended their strike after a nearly seven-hour-long mediation session with the university administration ended with a tentative agreement (TA). The union’s bargaining committee, which is composed entirely of part-time faculty at The New School, unanimously chose to suspend the strike while they prepare to hold a ratification vote. Alex Robins, a union staff member and part-time instructor teaching at Parsons School of Design, told TRNN that approximately 300 (exhausted) part-time faculty members attended the final mediation session via Zoom. “The mood was absolutely ebullient,” he said. “I breathed for the first time in a month. They came into negotiations seemingly aiming to break the union.
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