Trevor GriffeyJan 5, 2023
Why Did 48,000 UC Workers Go on Strike?
A Conversation with Dr. Trevor Griffey
New Books Network 2022
Why did thousands of workers at prestigious universities in the United States go on strike in 2022? How did we get to this historic moment, and is it really over? This episode explores:
- The myriad ways universities can wield power over workers and even their families.
- Why university workers are divided into different unions—and why some have no union representation at all.
- How inflation, student debt, housing shortages, health insurance access, and the constriction of the tenure-track put unbearable pressure graduate students, adjuncts, and instructors.
- The limitations of sympathy strikes.
- How higher education became a gig economy.
- Why this generation of students and their parents have more power to change academic inequality than they may realize.
Our guest is: Trevor Griffey is a Lecturer in U.S. History at UC Irvine and in Labor Studies at UCLA. He is co-founder of the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project, and co-editor of the book Black Power at Work: Community Control, Affirmative Actiton and the Construction Industry (Cornell University Press, 2010). He currently serves as the Vice President of Legislation for the University Council-American Federation of Teachers (UC-AFT), which represents non-Senate faculty and librarians in the University of California system.
Our host is: Dr. Christina Gessler, a historian of women and gender.
Listeners to this episode may also be interested in:
- This podcast on dealing with structural inequalities in the tenure pipeline
- This podcast with the AAUP on how the demise of the tenure system is hurting students, professors, and academic freedom
- The podcast on one professor's long road to the dream job in academia
- The Gig Academy: Mapping Labor in the Neoliberal University by Adrianna Kezar, Tom DePaola, And Daniel T. Scott
- State of the Union: A Century of American Labor - Revised and Expanded Edition, by Nelson Lichtenstein
- Nelson Lichtenstein's piece about the UC Strike in Dissent Magazine
- This LA Times article, which is one of many pieces in recent years about how graduate students and adjuncts cannot afford housing
- The Guardian's article on firings of graduate student strikers in 2020
- For teaching US labor and social history, this resource which is free and available online (free registration): https://wba.ashpcml.org/
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