When new Obama Chief of Staff was an exec at NYU, NYU tried to bust grad students’ union

When New Obama Chief of Staff Was NYU Exec, School Ceased Recognizing Union
BY JOSH EIDELSON

President Barack Obama shakes hands with newly-appointed White House Chief of Staff Jacob J. Lew, acting as U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, at the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue reception at the the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on June 3, 2010. (White House photo/Public Domain)

But Obama administration maintains Lew supports right to organize.

Three months into a bitter strike, the Graduate Students Organizing Committee sent an e-mail to supporters. “Like their refusal to bargain, their threats last fall, and the docking of prospective pay for striking,” the union wrote, “John Sexton and the NYU administration, aided by former Clintonites Jacob Lew and Cheryl Mills, are again hiding behind a right-wing, Republican NLRB.”

Six years, later, Lew and Mills are back in Washington. Mills is Hillary Clinton’s Chief of Staff at the State Department. Lew reprised his Clinton Administration role as director of the Office of Management and Budget—until last week, when Obama promoted him to White House Chief of Staff.

In 2004, Jacob Lew was the first hire by newly-appointed New York University President John Sexton. Lew served as NYU’s chief operating officer and executive vice president for the following two years, during which NYU withdrew recognition from its graduate student employees union and punished some participants in the ensuing strike. UAW Local 2110 President Maida Rosenstein, whose local includes GSOC, says Lew was “the point person” in “representing management’s position” against the union. (Full disclosure: the UAW is an In These Timessponsor)

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