Our graduate student…

Our graduate student organization may be striking soon. It's unclear; they're in negotiations. They have a legal right to strike, which the administration acknowledges. The students have asked the faculty to support their cause in a variety of ways -- one way is by not teaching, in solidarity with them.

I've never been in this position before, of having to choose whether to cross a picket line. We got a letter from the administration today saying this, among other things:

Note that faculty who choose not to cross picket lines, and therefore not to teach their classes, will be considered on unauthorized leave without pay. Supervisors and managers, including executive officers and faculty, are obligated to report accurately the time their employees are absent from work as a matter of state law and ethics statutes.

Not sure what I'll do if a strike happens. I'm not tenured, or even tenure-track; my position is more tenuous that most faculty members'. Some faculty are considering offering their classes off campus, which I suppose at least honors the letter of the picket line, although I'm not sure if it honors the spirit. What a mess.

Do you cross picket lines? I'd be interested to hear why you do or don't.

2 thoughts on “Our graduate student…”

  1. Thanks for considering canceling or holding class of campus…although we’re all just hoping it doesn’t come to this!

  2. When the grad student union at UMich had a one-day walkout, I totally crossed the picket line. I also called them to task to doing workarounds in which they wouldn’t teach students but would either move off-campus or reschedule their own classes.

    The basic question would seem to be simple: do you think their cause is more important than your students’ education? If so, go ahead and cancel class. If not, why would you? (Moving off campus seems pointless, but that’s just me.)

    For my part, watching Michigan’s grad students penalize their students while having terms that were the envy of schools across the nation only reconfirmed my general feeling that unions suck.

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