We, the graduate students of the AAUP-AFT of Rutgers University, applaud the efforts of the Graduate students at the University of Missouri, Columbia, and support your decision to unionize. By galvanizing a movement around issues facing graduate student workers, such as healthcare and a living wage, you set an example for student activism at other institutions, and we at Rutgers appreciate your efforts. We admire your courage. We know, first hand, how the administration will resist your efforts. We know how they will make threats. They will use every tactic to undermine the very idea that you should have the right to speak and to work for better working conditions. They will tell you that you should be grateful for what you have, that you are asking for too much. We are aware that higher education all around the world is becoming more corporatized with a technocratic body of administrators who know “better” and who are paid at least ten times more than a graduate student worker. We also know how difficult it is to be workers and potential job candidates in a precarious labor market, which continues crush any hope for a stable and secure future in academic world. Most of all, we understand the psychic toll which you are enduring now, and how much you will have to cope with as your opponents in the administration continue their assault on your dignity. We are aware that our voices as graduate student workers will be ignored systematically if we do not speak up. Do not waver in your resolve. Stay strong and speak loudly. We strongly support the decision of the graduate students at the University of Missouri to unionize, and we believe our labor is our power.
The Rutgers AAUP-AFT TA/GA Steering Committee