Several people have asked that I post something about the graduate student strike currently happening at NYU. As many of you know, things are about to take a turn for the worse, with the administration making some pretty grave threats. I haven't posted about this until now, for three reasons. First, I tend to be pretty uniformly pro-labor. Secondly, I'm nervous about the fact that the Bush administration has been chiefly responsible for the legal rulings that are allowing the NYU administration to do what it is now doing. The first and second fact conspire to make me somewhat suspicious of the NYU administration's position. Third, I haven't followed the details of the situation at NYU, and some people whom I respect a lot agree with the NYU admininstration's position. So I am quite open to the possibility that knowing more about the details of the situation would affect my bias from the outside (e.g. perhaps the union is being unreasonable).
Nevertheless, I'd thought I'd link to the following interview, since in it, the distinguished NYU philosopher Paul Boghossian defends the administration position (and thereby adds himself to the list of people I respect a lot who agree with it). Prof. Boghossian raises the worry that having a union will change the relationship between professor and graduate student. But Michigan and Rutgers both have strong graduate unions, and I don't perceive any difference between my relationship to my graduates at those institutions, and the relationships I had with my graduate students at Cornell (perhaps I always had a managerial relationship with my graduate students? I had better ask Susanna Siegel). Furthermore, the Rutgers philosophy department competes very successfully for graduate students with the departments at NYU and Princeton. No doubt, this has mostly to do with our departmental make-up. But I know of at least one case of a student who was attracted by the health insurance package available for his family at Rutgers, the generosity of which was due to union bargaining. However, I don't know what the union's demands are, and perhaps they are more unreasonable than (as their representative claims) simply wanting to return to the table with the administration.
UPDATE: I had closed the comments thread on this, since it had seemed to me that every side had said their piece. But I guess I will leave it open, and let Brian make the decision how long to continue with it. Post away.