Arise, ye wretched of the earth!

The American labor movement has filed a complaint with the UN over the outrages committed against a powerless group by a presumably evil group of oppressors: America's research universities. It is all so delicious! The New York Sun reports:
Labor groups filed a complaint with a U.N. agency yesterday about a federal decision that graduate assistants at private universities do not have the right to form unions.
The AFL-CIO and the United Auto Workers complained to the International Labor Organization, an agency of the United Nations, about a July 2004 decision by the National Labor Relations Board denying teaching assistants the right to organize. The unions say that decision violates workers' rights under international labor standards. Any ILO decision on the complaint would not overturn U.S. law.

The NLRB, dominated by President Bush appointees, ruled in 2004 that about 450 graduate teaching and research assistants at Brown University in Providence, R.I., could not be represented by the United Auto Workers because they were students, not employees.

That decision overturned the board's unanimous ruling in 2000 that let 1,500 graduate teaching assistants join a union at New York University, a private school where teaching assistants had organized.

So here we have the evil Bush Administration protecting the interests of Harvard, Berkeley, and the other universities which despise it? Not exactly. It is simply an indicator of sanity, which means that the UN is all the more likely to target this move.

I worked for as a teaching assistant and research assistant at Harvard, where I ended up with three graduate degrees. I then joined the faculty and held positions in two different branches of the University: Arts & Sciences and the Business School. I employed teaching assistants and research assistants. I know the business from both sides.

The idea of unionizing graduate students is ridiculous. This position has always paid badly, but it provides other benefits. It is an apprenticeship! One learns the craft by practicing it under the supervision of the master. In pre-modern Europe and East Asia, apprenticeship was the normal path to mastery of complex skills, including scholarship and the law, which have been taken over by graduate education at university.

One doesn't have to read too many autobiographies of great figures who began their careers as apprentices to realize that today's graduate students have it far easier than apprentices of yore, who often received nothing more than meager room and board, and who were beaten as a form of discipline and encouragement of attention to detail.

Part of me, of course, wants to see the big universities humbled before the United Nations. But a much bigger part wants to see higher education go on a cost-cutting jihad, and make education more affordable to those who don't qualify for scholarship aid owing to being born to the wrong race or other shorcomings.

Hat tip: Ed Lasky
The American labor movement has filed a complaint with the UN over the outrages committed against a powerless group by a presumably evil group of oppressors: America's research universities. It is all so delicious! The New York Sun reports:
Labor groups filed a complaint with a U.N. agency yesterday about a federal decision that graduate assistants at private universities do not have the right to form unions.
The AFL-CIO and the United Auto Workers complained to the International Labor Organization, an agency of the United Nations, about a July 2004 decision by the National Labor Relations Board denying teaching assistants the right to organize. The unions say that decision violates workers' rights under international labor standards. Any ILO decision on the complaint would not overturn U.S. law.

The NLRB, dominated by President Bush appointees, ruled in 2004 that about 450 graduate teaching and research assistants at Brown University in Providence, R.I., could not be represented by the United Auto Workers because they were students, not employees.

That decision overturned the board's unanimous ruling in 2000 that let 1,500 graduate teaching assistants join a union at New York University, a private school where teaching assistants had organized.

So here we have the evil Bush Administration protecting the interests of Harvard, Berkeley, and the other universities which despise it? Not exactly. It is simply an indicator of sanity, which means that the UN is all the more likely to target this move.

I worked for as a teaching assistant and research assistant at Harvard, where I ended up with three graduate degrees. I then joined the faculty and held positions in two different branches of the University: Arts & Sciences and the Business School. I employed teaching assistants and research assistants. I know the business from both sides.

The idea of unionizing graduate students is ridiculous. This position has always paid badly, but it provides other benefits. It is an apprenticeship! One learns the craft by practicing it under the supervision of the master. In pre-modern Europe and East Asia, apprenticeship was the normal path to mastery of complex skills, including scholarship and the law, which have been taken over by graduate education at university.

One doesn't have to read too many autobiographies of great figures who began their careers as apprentices to realize that today's graduate students have it far easier than apprentices of yore, who often received nothing more than meager room and board, and who were beaten as a form of discipline and encouragement of attention to detail.

Part of me, of course, wants to see the big universities humbled before the United Nations. But a much bigger part wants to see higher education go on a cost-cutting jihad, and make education more affordable to those who don't qualify for scholarship aid owing to being born to the wrong race or other shorcomings.

Hat tip: Ed Lasky