On this very special Labor Day episode, Roqayah and Kumars interview Emmett Rensin, a writer and contributing editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books. He is also a University of Iowa graduate student and proud, dues-paying member of United Electrical Workers Local 896, better known as the Coalition of Graduate Students, or COGS, at the University of Iowa.
You might also remember Emmett from his time writing over at Vox. We talk to Emmett about an essay he wrote for the LA Review of Books about a recent NLRB ruling that finally recognized teaching and research assistants at private universities as employees with the ability to form a union. Emmett explains the significance of this ruling to tens of thousands of student workers across the country, as well as the predictable and uniform responses of overpaid administrators attempting to stifle unionization efforts at their respective campuses.
We discuss how the arguments advanced by these administrators are without merit and in fact conflict with the actual academic research on the subject. We also ridicule University of Chicago in particular, which released back-to-back letters, one saying that a student worker union would damage the unique character of the university, and another decrying the supposed proliferation of “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces” as impediments to preparation for life in the real world.
Finally, we talk to Emmett about the controversy that got him suspended from Vox. Are riots good? Listen to find out!
If you are a student worker and want to join this important fight wherever you happen to be, email the show at deleteuracct at gmail or reach out on twitter and we can help get you connected with organizers at your school.
You can also contact the Coalition of Graduate Employee Unions which is a great resource for student workers currently unionized, as well as those actively fighting for a union and those interested in starting the fight.
Follow Emmett Rensin on twitter at @EmmettRensin.