Columbia teaching assistants on their strike: Having a union is about giving the people who teach and do research a stronger voice in the school--we don't know all of the problems that TAs and RAs will face in the future, but we know that with a union there will be a democratic way to deal with collective problems. We also believe that in organizing a union we are acting to protect the values that matter to us in the University: stopping the trend toward adjunct and temporary employment and away from full-time, tenure-track jobs. In striking, we want to be absolutely clear that our responsibilities to our students are very important to us. We take our jobs seriously, we are devoted to higher education, and we are disappointed and angry that the administration has put us in this position. For many of us, it is painful to break with our students and stop teaching at this point in the semester. Those of us who are RAs are frustrated about stopping our research for the duration of the strike. With the help of a more conservative NLRB under the Bush administration, Columbia, like many other schools, has attempted to prevent TAs and RAs from forming unions. By doing so, the administration has left us no choice but to strike for union recognition.


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