Letters to the Editor, Opinions

Letter: Response to Smith GS “Is graduate student unionization worthwhile?”

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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

To the Editor:

It was perplexing to see a graduate student list the many ways the University stiffs him and then conclude that unionizing would be a waste of time. My partner (also a Brown alum) is a PhD student at the University of Arizona; this has opened my eyes to how much free labor universities extract from their graduate students. During the recession, Arizona cut its education funding more than any other state, and with no student union, there was no effective resistance. Does Smith not understand the connection between lack of funding for higher education and the dearth of employment opportunities?  Who does he think is going to solve this problem, if not the people actually affected by it?

Unions are responsible for almost every major historical advance in workers’ rights. Smith has plenty of complaints, but he doesn’t offer any ideas about how to address them. He should learn from history: Workers move forward when they fight together. Time to get off the sidelines.

Harpo Jaeger ’14.5

A previous version of this article said that Harpo Jaeger was in the class of 2014. Harpo Jaeger is actually in the class of 2014.5. The Herald regrets the error.