Here in New York, over 3,000 research and teaching assistants at Columbia University are on day 10 of their strike demanding fair wages, improvements to healthcare and child care provisions. Workers are also asking for third-party arbitration in cases of harassment and discrimination. Democracy Now! spoke to some of the strikers.
Kevin: “Columbia, I think, likes people to have the impression that every course at this university is taught and made happen by an august tenured professor who’s been working here for 40 years and wears a tweed jacket. But in reality, this university does not work without graduate students. Acknowledging our union is acknowledging that, and that’s what we want to make happen.”
Yasemin: “We are at an $11 billion institution. The president of this institution is getting paid $4.6 million in salary. And the majority of us who make the work of this university possible, who enable its mission, are not able to afford the rents.”