28.4.04

ARISE, YE WRETCHED OF THE EARTH. Milwaukee's Jeff Wagner is proposing that the Governor fire the striking teaching assistants, a stance that some of the legislators are also taking. He has erred, however, in using the salaries and signing bonuses of MBAs, few of whom work as graduate assistants while getting their yuppie tickets degrees as evidence that the strike, motivated by economic issues that appear to be minor, is more special pleading by people who will join the upper classes upon graduation.

The reality is somewhat different. Many of the graduate assistants have not yet discovered that they are holding their best jobs right now. This will be particularly true for students in several of the humanities fields. The university is in a tough position. If it fires all the strikers and kicks them out of the university, as some of the hardliners calling the radio show are advocating, that will point out how dependent some disciplines are on contingent labor for doing the grunt work in the classroom. On the other hand, graduates of other universities, will benefit, slightly, from a smaller influx of new Ph.D.s from Wisconsin.

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