From a reader:
Here at the University of Michigan, the graduate students have been
unionized since the mid 1970s–whereas the Columbia and Yale grads are just
getting around to it.
Earlier this month, the Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs) staged a
one-day walkout in their contract negotiations with the University. They
wanted their roughly $14,000 stipend (which comes with a tuition waiver)
increased to a “living wage” of $22,000 per school year. Not to mention
that they wanted to be able to list any individual of their choosing as a
beneficiary of their health care plan. They also demanded that the
University include in health coverage payment for transgendered students’
care–psychological therapy, hormone therapy, and sex-change operations.
Luckily, after a dismal showing of student support in liberal Ann Arbor,
the graduate students’ union ended up at the knees of the University,
settling for a 2.5% wage increase per year, and a watering down of the
English-speaking requirement for foreign GSIs.
The point is, though, that for as liberal as Yale and Columbia might be,
it’s always moreso here at Michigan.