Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Harvard and Unions

Harvard Grad students, some of them, are moving towards unionizing all Grad student assistants. There are surprises to the Grad students as they progress as noted in The Crimson. There is a fundamental assumption in unions that what is compensated is the job, the position, not the person. In fact unions by their very nature deny the existence of an individual and base their very existence on the group. There are assembly line workers, packagers, maintenance staff, clerical staff. Each position has an agreed to salary or salary range, and there shall be no deviation from them.

Unions were made for the world of mass production, thousands of people doing the same job, day after day.

Unless something has changed, Graduate Teaching Assistants, having been one half a century ago, do something different hour after hour. Some are good, some great, some poor. It is a test that many do not pass. It is not the research test, that is a different path. It is the test to see if you can do a part of some future job.

One critical item however is that some people are great and some are horrible. In a meritocracy, one is recognized and rewarded for excellence. In a union world one is rewarded equally for the position and not for the product.

Perhaps these students do not recognize this fact, or perhaps quality of one's work no longer matters. Especially at Harvard.