Unions are not necessary for graduate assistants

by Sam Blass, University student

I don’t understand the pro-union position that the University of Minnesota administration can, on a whim, slash all pay and benefits to graduate assistants.

Why would they do that?

Graduate assistants are the lifeblood of the University. They do research which brings in enormous amounts of federal funding that keeps the University operating and pays the administration’s salaries.

Cutting benefits would only exacerbate the problem since the University would have a harder time recruiting graduate assistants.

It’s more likely the University would hire fewer graduate assistants rather than cut funding to the current ones.

Graduate assistants will only spend a few years as students and then (hopefully) move on to well-paying jobs. The United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America is a union for auto-workers who need to be worried about their bargaining power because they plan on spending their entire careers in the industry.

Union supporters should accept that graduate assistants occupy a relatively low position on the academic totem pole and understand that this is all temporary.