Averted strike is good for undergraduates

    United Auto Workers, the union that represents teaching assistants, readers and tutors, was prepared to call a strike on Dec. 4 that could have extended into finals. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed and a strike was averted.

    The TAs want the right to “”sympathy strikes”” ‹ strikes by the TA union in support of other unionized employees. Sympathy strikes are important to unions, especially smaller ones for whom “”strength in numbers”” is necessary to remain relevant. It is understandable that the union would seek to keep this right.

    Avoiding a strike is significant in two ways. The fact that no strike is necessary means that the TAs feel more comfortable with their bargaining situation. More importantly, students will not feel the brunt of their TAs¹ dissatisfaction with their employers. Striking during finals week would have hurt the students more than the university; anything that keeps the TAs doing their jobs during finals week is cause for thanks.

    Despite the absence of an immediate strike threat, undergraduates should still pay attention to these kinds of labor disputes in the future. Students who sought information in the past couple of weeks should continue learning about these issues as they reemerge throughout their academic experience. This is not a “”one-time deal”” ‹ labor disputes between campus employees and the university will again occur in the future and strike possibilities will continue to surface. Students should be prepared, and the best way to do that is by paying attention.

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