Grad Students Unionizing

Grad Students, Unions and Grad School Students, Teaching Assistants at Grad Schools

Grad students are banding together at Columbia University.

There’s an interesting piece by Josh Eidelson up on “Bloomberg Businessweek” that we figured we’d share with our readers. The piece is entitled “Can Grad Students Unionize? The Government Can’t Decide” and if you’re a graduate student or someone who has completed your graduate studies, you likely have a perspective on the subject matter. When students enroll in graduate schools across America, something that may not be front and center in their calculus is that they’re going to have to T.A. quite a bit. And they’re going to have to serve as teaching assistants for not so high pay, a perspective shared by many graduate students we’ve spoken to over the years.

Well, just like the Northwestern University football team tried to unionize, graduate school students are seeking to unionize too. As reported by Eidelson, “[Columbia graduate students are] petitioning the federal government for the right to unionize as they seek higher pay and other concessions, including better health benefits, for the teaching and research they do while pursuing their degrees. The National Labor Relations Board is expected to rule sometime this summer…’They’re providing a service and receiving compensation,’ says AFL-CIO general counsel Craig Becker, who served on the NLRB during President Obama’s first term. ‘It’s up to them to decide whether, even though they’re also students, they think they would benefit from collective bargaining.'”

Do you think that graduate school students should have the right to unionize? Do you think this will be a failed attempt at unionization that does not yield higher pay for serving as teaching assistants? Do you think graduate school students shouldn’t teach undergraduate courses at all? We’re curious to hear from our readers so post a Comment below to start a conversation.

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