Every year, in every crisis, the rich have gotten richer, while the working class struggles to keep its head above water. Capitalism entails booms and busts where workers rarely benefit from the booms and are always hurt by the busts. As entire sections of the workforce either lost their jobs or have been unable to work due to COVID-19, the inevitable economic crash has come to a head once again—with this recession promising to be much more severe than the last. But this pandemic doesn’t need to be a death sentence for the working class.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, UMass Amherst withholds vacation payouts, leaves precarious workers without summer pay, evicts workers and their families from university housing, and threatens job cuts. ISG interviews a member of the graduate student union, who says: “A living wage, access to safe and affordable housing, decent healthcare and paid-time off, represent not excesses, but a right to dignity.”
Universities around the country are using the pandemic to justify further cuts and austerity for already low-paid graduate student and adjunct instructors. But higher ed workers, especially unionized graduate students, are fighting back!