Thursday, my Constitutional Law professor was introduced Youngstown by saying “You need steel to fight a war – much like you need TAs to teach class, which incidentally is why I have some reservations about this GESO business,” holding up a GESO leaflet pushing for greater equal opportunity at Yale as he did so. Funny thing is, if teaching assistants are indeed like steelworkers in that they’re employees who do important work, then under the Wagner Act they have the right to organize a union. And it’s only because Yale refuses to recognize that right, or even to come to the table, that a strike is a looming possibility. Somehow, the University’s rhetoric on GESO is always about its members not being workers – except for when they go out on strike, and the rhetoric is about how irresponsible it is for them not to do their work. It’s preciesely because graduate student employees, like steelworkers, do jobs that get disrupted when they go on strike that they should have a voice on the job through a recognized union.

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