Category Archives: Coalition for Fair Labor

To Sexton and Bloom

To President Sexton and Vice-Chancellor Bloom

In the course of the last month, the NYU-AAUP chapter officers addressed two separate letters to you: the first regarding conditions of labor compliance at NYUAD, the second regarding the recent arrests in the UAE. We have not received any responses.

The substance of our letters was shaped by concerns about potential damage to NYU’s name by rights violations in the UAE. The chapter is beholden by the AAUP principles commonly observed by American universities to express such concerns, and it does so in order to safeguard NYU faculty interests. NYUAD is officially bound by the same AAUP principles regarding academic rights and freedoms. Our letters were intended as reminders that these principles cannot be selectively applied or cherrypicked–as an institution we either abide by them or we do not.

In the past, similar letters about NYUAD policy, which reflect widespread faculty concerns, have elicited a response from Josh Taylor (who is responsible for NYUAD communications), but only at our prompting. Most recently, we noted the following comment from Mr. Taylor in a Chronicle of Higher Education article on the subject of the recent detentions of UAE democracy advocates, including a Sorbonne professor

“Josh Taylor, a spokesman for NYU Abu Dhabi, said in an e-mail message that the administration will stay silent on the arrests. ‘We believe that we can have a far greater impact on creating a more informed, responsible, and just world, by creating powerful centers of ideas, discourse, and critical thinking, than by simply firing off a press release,’ Mr. Taylor wrote.”

We wonder if this is how the NYUAD administration wants NYU faculty to learn about policy decisions? Through comments in the press from its public affairs officer?

We believe that when a group of faculty addresses its legitimate concerns to the institution’s leaders, they deserve a response from the leaders, and not from a university spokesperson (with all due respect to Mr. Taylor) who handles public relations on behalf of the administration.

Sincerely Yours

Andrew Ross, president, AAUP-NYU

Mary Nolan, vice-president, NYU-AAUP

Marie Monaco, secretary, NYU-AAUP

Anna McCarthy, treasurer, NYU-AAUP

Rebecca Karl, at-large committee member, NYU-AAUP

Rana Jaleel, graduate representative, NYU-AAUP

Petition to Sexton and Bloom on UAE Labor Standards

Dear President Sexton and Vice Chancellor Al Bloom,

We, the undersigned students and faculty, call on you to take steps to resolve the NYU community’s ongoing concerns about the rights and conditions of migrant workers in the UAE.

In light of recent reports documenting violations of NYU’s Statement of Labor Values and UAE labor law, the Coalition for Fair Labor urges NYU to alter its monitoring arrangements and devote resources to protecting workers’ rights in the UAE. Although construction of NYUAD’s Saadiyat Island campus is almost complete, the building of other cultural and educational institutions on the island will continue for the next twenty years. Now that the NYU name is established in the UAE, we believe that our university has a responsibility to help address the formidable challenges confronting the heavily indebted workers who are laboring to realize the larger Saadiyat vision.

Over the last four years, Human Rights Watch, Gulf Labor, The Guardian, and other independent investigators have found violations on the NYUAD project that Mott MacDonald failed to detect through its auditing practices. In 2008, the Coalition for Fair Labor advised the administration against the appointment of Mott MacDonald. Among the firm’s conflicts of interest was a 27 billion-dollar contract to oversee the power and water distribution systems on Saadiyat Island. As before, we ask that NYU hire a truly independent, third-party monitor, such as the Workers Rights Consortium (of which NYU is a member) to monitor the workforce operating and maintaining the new campus. NYU’s name cannot afford to be further tarnished by inattentive monitoring.

Second, we ask that NYU publicly release a code of conduct for all migrant domestic workers that are employed by NYUAD faculty, staff, and students. Domestic employees currently have no legislative labor protections in the UAE, and organizations like Human Rights Watch have documented their pervasive abuse and mistreatment.

Finally, we ask that NYU utilize its student and faculty resources to develop research initiatives aimed at eliminating the hardships imposed on migrant workers by the kafala system. NYU can set a visible academic example by suggesting policy for reforming the current sponsorship system, with a view to ensuring that the welfare and the rights of migrant workers in the UAE are better upheld. We ask, in particular, that NYU devote resources to implementing the recommendations made by Gulf Labor in its May 2014 report, including, but not limited to, payment of a relocation fee for workers to settle their recruitment debts; formation of workers’ councils at NYUAD and on the surrounding island projects; establishment of a Saadiyat Island living wage to enable workers to select accommodation of their choosing; and cooperation with the ILO to help design and implement these and other recommendations.

We commend the administration’s recent decision to break ties with VF Corporation/Jansport given its commitment to supporting the highest global labor standards. In the same spirit, we urge to ensure that NYU take a proactive role in the field of human rights as a way of fulfilling its academic mission abroad.

Respectfully,

Kristina Bogos, College of Arts and Science 2015

Edward Radzivilovskiy, Global Liberal Studies 2015

Emma Dolhai, Tisch School of the Arts 2016

Linnea Gregg, Tisch School of the Arts 2015

Isabelle Galet-Lalande, NYU Abu Dhabi 2016

Victor R. Li, Steinhardt 2015

John Archer, English

Paula Chakravarty, Gallatin

Stephen Duncombe, Gallatin

Jeff Goodwin, Sociology

Christine Harrington, Politics

Rebecca Karl, History and East Asian Studies

Marie Monaco, School of Medicine

Anna McCarthy, Cinema Studies

Mary Nolan, History

Andrew Ross, Social and Cultural Analysis

Kristina Mayman, College of Arts and Science 2015

Daniel Huang, Stern School of Business 2014

Carlos Estevez, College of Arts and Science 2014

Linda Gordon, History

Lisa Duggan, Social and Cultural Analysis

Ritty Lukose, Gallatin

Dan Polan, Cinema Studies

Manu Goswami, History

Christy Thornton, History

Timothy Reiss, Comparative Literature

Emanuela Bianchi, Comparative Literature

Vasuki Nesiah, Gallatin

Miriam Frank, Global Liberal Studies

Ara Merjian, Associate Professor of Italian and Art History

Mark Miller, Media, Culture, and Communication

Tavia Nyong’o, Performance Studies

Dean Saranillio, Social and Cultural Analysis

Carol Krinsky, Art History

George Shulman, Gallatin

Bertell Ollman, Politics

Angela Zito, Anthropology

Jim Uleman, Psychology

Sinclair Thomson, History

Sylvia Molloy, Spanish and Portuguese

Gianpaolo Baiocchi, Gallatin

Avital Ronell, German

Marita Sturken, Media, Culture, and Communication

David Margolies, English

Nancy F. Regalado, French

Despina Lalaki, Hellenic Studies

Hansell Patterson, Social Work

Chat Gunter, Film and Television

David Greenberg, Sociology

Jini Watson, English

Greg Londe, Irish Studies

Zachary Lockman, Middle Eastern Studies

Max Holleran, Sociology

Seung-hoon Jeong, NYU Abu Dhabi, Cinema Studies

James Polchin, Global Liberal Studies

Adam Becker, Classics

Greg Grandin, History

Faye Ginsburg, Anthropology

Patricia Crain, English

Tejaswini Ganti, Anthropology

Elaine Freedgood, English

Martha Hodes, History

Patrick Deer, English

Michele Mitchell, History

Sally Guttmacher, Health Studies

E. L. Doctorow, English

Richard Sennett, Sociology

Todd Ayoung, Art and Public Policy

Karl Appuhn, History

Rayna Rapp, Anthropology

Randy Martin, Art and Public Policy

Arang Keshavarzian, Middle Eastern Studies

Barbara Weinstein, History

Yukiko Hanawa, East Asian Studies

Brett Gary, Media, Culture, and Communication

Amir Minsky, NYU Abu Dhabi, History

Emily Martin, Anthropology

Nadrian Seeman, Chemistry

Judith Green, Teaching and Learning

Chris DiNardo, College of Arts and Science 2014

Lynn Bernabei, College of Arts and Science 2014

Despina Kiskinis, Steinhardt 2015

Kira Haag, College of Arts and Science 2015

Connor Pearce, NYU Abu Dhabi 2017

Davit Avoyan, NYU Abu Dhabi 2016

April Xiong, NYU Abu Dhabi 2014

Muhammed Usman, NYU Abu Dhabi 2017

Lauren Clingan, NYU Abu Dhabi 2017

Bailey Theado, Gallatin 2015

Jonathan Tan, College of Arts and Science 2015

Trisha Goyal, Stern 2015

Lauren Holter, College of Arts and Science 2015

Amy Zhang, College of Arts and Science 2014

Tatiana Baez, College of Arts and Science 2015

Amanda Randone, College of Arts and Science 2014

Madeleine Overturf, College of Arts and Science 2014

Tyler Boothe, NYU Student

Jessica Littman, NYU Student

Michael Meletakos, NYU Student

Robert Ascherman, NYU Student

Anne Falcon, NYU Student

Margaux Aquino, NYU Student

Sofia Ferrandiz, NYU Student

Noah Engel, NYU Student

Do Hyun Kim, NYU Student

Robert Weide, NYU Student

Julie Yoon, NYU Student

Peter Fitzpatrick, NYU Student

Jessica Feldman, NYU Student

Andrew Bauer, NYU Student

Debashree Mukherjee, NYU Student

Kartik Nair, NYU Student

Darach Miller, NYU Student

Tiana Hayden, NYU Student

Daniel Aldana Cohen, NYU Student

Linnea Hussein, NYU Student

Max Besbris, NYU Student

Schneur Newfield, NYU Student

Stuart Schrader, NYU Student

Michael Gould-Wartofsky, NYU Student

Adaner Usmani, NYU Student

Leo Goldsmith, NYU Student

Alexandra Cubaleski, NYU Student

Hadi Gharabaghi, NYU Student

Taylor Edelhart, NYU Student

Karan Mirchandani, NYU Student

Arun Manikundalam, NYU Student

Sundus Arain, NYU Student

James Amidon, NYU Student

Sina Mehdian, NYU Student

Dorothy Lam, NYU Student

Raquel Ortega, NYU Student

Michelle Thompson, NYU Student

Rachel Lepore, NYU Student

Selin Sahin, NYU Student

Anastasia Moryakova, NYU Student

Rosanna Rodriguez, NYU Student

Yasmin Siddiqui, NYU Student

Anna Yulsman, NYU Student

Maryam Rasheed, NYU Student

Amanda Kraley, NYU Student

Valerie Kipnis, NYU Student

Caitlin MacLaren, NYU Student

Julia Yanoff, NYU Student

Danielle Eagan, NYU Student

Alyssa Hornyak, NYU Student

Judy Dang, NYU Student

Rachel Yanger, NYU Student

Alyssa Smith, NYU Student

Julian Gonzalez, NYU Student

Grant Roth, NYU Student

Jessica Powell, NYU Student

Haley Houseman, NYU Student

Kyle Rogers, NYU Student

Kaitlin Noss, NYU Student

Claudie Bernard, French

John Maynard, English

Kimberly Phillips-Fein, Gallatin

Nikhil Singh, Social and Cultural Analysis

Thuy Linh Tu, Social and Cultural Analysis

Rodolfo G. Aiello, Senior Lecturer, Spanish and Portuguese

Marilyn Young, History

Michael Balter, Journalism

Christopher Rzonca, Liberal Studies

Sylvia Gonzalez, School of Continuing and Professional Studies

Robert Schaefer, School of Continuing and Professional Studies

Marilyn Young, History

William Caspary, Gallatin

Carol Bergman, School of Continuing and Professional Studies

Priscilla Karant, School of Continuing and Professional Studies

Jean Campbell, School of Continuing and Professional Studies

Tanala Osayande, School of Continuing and Professional Studies

Toral Gajarawala, English

Elizabeth Olesker, Tisch

Robert Tufts, Business Development

Miriam Basilio, Art History

Ada Ferrer, History

Nicholas Mirzoeff, Media, Culture, and Communication

Paul Thompson, Film and Television

Herrick Chapman, History

Ann Pellegrini, Performance Studies

Sonya Posmentier, English

Judith Stacey, Social and Cultural Analysis

Jini Watson, English

Natan Zeichner, NYU Student

Adrian Dhanaraj, NYU Student

Jessica Kim, NYU Student

Hiranya Nayvar, NYU Student

Madel Beaudouin, NYU Student

Matthew Teng, NYU Student

Luiza Monetti, NYU Student

Earl Co, NYU Student

Sachi Pettit, NYU Student

Jaewon Kang, College of Arts and Science 2014

Kristin Alfaro, NYU Student

Zach Schwartz-Weinstein, NYU Student

Kalliopi Karakasidou, NYU Student

Eliza Lambert, NYU Student

Judith Ratcliffe, NYU Student

Mitchell Kapoor, NYU Student

Alistair Mackay, NYU Student

Cian Dinan, NYU Abu Dhabi

Kaitlin Noss, NYU Student

Nicole Latimer, NYU Student

Ayesha Guerin, NYU Student

Lily Defriend, NYU Student

Brady Fletcher, NYU Student

Sunaura Taylor, NYU Student

Donasia Tillery, NYU Student

Julia Mendoza, NYU Student

Oscar Marquez, NYU Student

James Rodriguez, NYU Student

Rachel Wilson, NYU Student

Jessica Feldman, NYU Student

Karina Hoshikawa, NYU Student

David Hobbs, NYU Student

Mosarrap Khan, NYU Student

Caitlin Hurst, NYU Student

Angela Bennett Segler, NYU Student

Berengere Riou, NYU Student

Ryan Szelong, NYU Student

Emily Lesnick, NYU Student

Alex Alvarez, NYU Student

Bethany Hartzell, NYU Student

Molly Dillon, NYU Student

Fadhl al Eryani, NYU Abu Dhabi student

Claire Voon, NYU Student

Ayreen Anastas, Gulf Labor

Doris Bittar, Gulf Labor

Walid Raad, Gulf Labor

Guy Mannes-Abbott, Gulf Labor

Rene Gabri, Gulf Labor

Marian Ghani, Gulf Labor

Ashok Sukumaran, Gulf Labor

Shaina Anand, Gulf Labor

Hans Haacke, Gulf Labor

Greg Sholette, Gulf Labor

Naeem Mohaiemen, Gulf Labor

Douglas Ashford, Gulf Labor

John Pitman Weber, Gulf Labor

Nitasha Dhillon, Gulf Labor

Letter on JanSport

Dear President Sexton,

We write as a group of concerned faculty in regards to the university’s ties with the VF Corporation, the parent company of JanSport that produces NYU apparel. We urge you to reconsider the current course of action on this issue and support calls by worker organizations in Bangladesh and student groups on campus that ask NYU to terminate contracts with garment manufacturing companies that refuse to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. VF Corporation is one of several US companies (along with Walmart among others) that refuses to sign this accord and thereby endangers the lives of Bangladeshi workers.

The Tazreen Fashion factory fire of 2012 and the Rana Plaza factory of 2013 make up some of the worst industrial accidents in history. A wide range of civil society organizations, including labor rights groups in Bangladesh and abroad have determined that the Accord on Fire and Building Safety is a baseline requirement to prevent future disasters and for conditions of work to meaningfully improve in the country. As a global network university, NYU should be at the forefront of ensuring that companies that produce garments featuring the university’s logo adhere to humane and safe standards of production. VF Corporation, JanSport’s parent company, fails to meet these basic criteria and as a university community we must respond with meaningful action.

As the parent corporation for JanSport, VF Corporation is being deceptive about its direct ties to college apparel production in the US. Along with companies like Walmart and Gap, VF Corporation publicizes its adoption of a non-binding agreement (the Alliance for Bangladeshi Worker Safety) that has been widely critiqued by labor and human rights activists as ineffective in ensuring worker safety and, in effect, advancing self-promotion rather than self-regulation. These corporations use public relations exercises to deflect the most serious violations of worker and human rights.

NYU prides itself on being a global university and with this positioning comes global responsibilities. If NYU takes action to promote the well being of workers and their communities its actions will have significance on a global scale. We call on NYU to take a leadership position on this issue and act expeditiously to require that VF Corporation sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety as a condition of continued business with NYU.

Respectfully,
Theresa Aiello, Associate Professor of Social Work Sinan Antoon, Associate

Professor, the Gallatin School John Archer, Professor of English

Gianpaolo Baiocchi, Associate Professor, the Gallatin School

Emanuela Bianchi, Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature

Joy Boyum, Professor Emerita, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences in the Professions, Steinhardt

Paula Chakravartty, Associate Professor of Media, Culture and Communication and the Gallatin School

Mark Crispin Miller, Professor of Media, Culture and Communication

Marie Cruz Soto, Clinical Assistant Professor, the Gallatin School

Dipti Desai, Associate Professor, Department of Art and Art Professions

Carolyn Dinshaw, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis and English

Lisa Duggan, Professor, Department of Social and Cultural Analysis

Stephen Duncombe, Associate Professor, the Gallatin School and Department of Media, Culture and Communication

Allen Feldman, Associate Professor of Media, Culture and Communication

Valerie Forman, Associate Professor, the Gallatin School

Miriam Frank, Master Teacher, Liberal Studies

Sharon Friedman, Associate Professor, the Gallatin School

Toral Gajarawala, Associate Professor of English

Tejaswini Ganti, Associate Professor of Anthropology

Kathleen Gerson, Professor of Sociology

Faye Ginsburg, David B. Kriser Professor of Anthropology

Jeff Goodwin, Professor of Sociology

Linda Gordon, Professor of History

Manu Goswami, Associate Professor of History

Greg Grandin, Professor of History

Hannah Gurman, Clinical Assistant Professor, the Gallatin School

A B Huber, Assistant Professor, the Gallatin School

Priscilla Karant, Master Teacher, American Language Institute

Rebecca Karl, Associate Professor of East Asian Studies

Arang Keshavarzian, Associate Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies

Thuy Linh Tu, Associate Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis

Zachary Lockman, Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies

David Ludden, Professor of History

Sydney Ludvigson, Professor of Economics

Ritty Lukose, Associate Professor, the Gallatin School

Mo Ogrodnik, Associate Professor, Film and Television, NYU Abu Dhabi

Randy Martin, Professor and Chair of Art, and Public Policy

Sally Merry, Professor and Chair of Anthropology

Fred Myers, Professor of Anthropology

Vasuki Nesiah, Associate Professor of Practice the Gallatin School

Molly Nolan, Professor of History

Bertell Ollman, Professor of Politics

Dana Polan, Professor of Cinema Studies, Tisch School of the Arts

Rayna Rapp, Professor of Anthropology

Debraj Ray, Silver Professor, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Professor of Economics

Fred Ritchin, Professor and Chair of Photography and Imaging, Tisch School of the Arts

Avital Ronell, University Professor of the Humanities, Chair of the German Department

Andrew Ross, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis

Kimberly K Phillips-Fein, Associate Professor, Gallatin School

Dean Saranillio, Assistant Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis

George Shulman, Professor, the Gallatin School

Nikhil Singh, Associate Professor of History and Social and Cultural Analysis

Kathryn Smith, Associate Professor of Art History

Judith Stacey, Professor Emeritus of Social and Cultural Analysis

Marita Sturken, Professor of Media, Culture and Communication

Lala Straussner, Professor Silver School of Social Work

Helga Tawil-Souri, Associate Professor of Media, Culture and Communication

Sinclair Thompson, Associate Professor of History

Jim Uleman, Professor of Psychology

Alejandro Velasco, Assistant Professor, the Gallatin School