Saturday, December 4, 2021

U should vote yes for grad union

As a former graduate assistant and a graduating doctoral student, the upcoming unionization election will have little impact on my life. Furthermore, I have not gone through my experience here with a sense of being exploited.

My years as a student and as a GA have been rich and rewarding, and I’m grateful for the opportunities I have been given. But because I believe a good university can become a better one, I want to encourage MSU’s GAs to go to the International Center on Thursday and Friday to vote yes for the Graduate Employees Union.

Recent letters in The State News have already noted that teaching assistant unions at other universities have not only improved benefits for TAs, but have also in no way diminished academic life. When MSU’s GAs have a stronger voice, the whole university will benefit.

I also want to commend the GEU for the thoroughness and integrity with which it has pursued its cause. Contrary to the claims in a letter by Jerome Lavis (“Grad union should answer questions,” SN 4/18), it has worked hard to disseminate information regarding the merits of unionization.

To its credit, it has not done this by writing inflammatory letters to The State News. It has done it by having face-to-face discussions with every GA who was willing. It has done it on its Web page, in its flyers, its mailings, through e-mail, and in the GEU meetings, to which all GAs have been invited.

At present, Lavis - like some members of the administration - feels threatened by a change in the status quo. When the union begins to negotiate on Lavis’ behalf and to bring about positive changes for everyone at the university, perhaps he will write a different kind of letter.

Ron Herrema
music graduate student

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