Yesterday I started a new blog called Voices from the Picket Line in part because I was disappointed by the way that regular (whatever that means) CUPE 3903 member’s voices are missing from much of the coverage about the current job action.
I started out yesterday writing about what its like to be a graduate student and how some of the arguments I’ve read to solve our strike-related issues–like if we don’t earn enough money to pay monthly bills, we should just get an extra job–are often not an option. In my post I also finish with some quick thoughts about what TAs working extra jobs might mean for an undergrad’s experience.
I’ve had a good response thus far, with two more submission coming in last night. I posted one today that outlines life of a recent PhD graduate and course director. I’ll leave judgement up to others, but I’ve found the stories interesting and compelling. I look forward to posting more1.
Some of my strike-related posts have been garnishing some attention on line as well:
This ExcaliburOnline article covers how the Internet is shaping up as a “new battleground” in the York Strike. My site gets singled out:
People on both sides of the strike have also begun to utilize the Internet to post their feelings about the strike on websites such as Twitter and their own personal blogs. Gavan Watson, a TA from the faculty of environmental studies at York, has a blog that illustrates the life of a union member on the picket line. His blog, Gavan Central (www.gavan.ca), has given readers an up-close-and-personal look at what itâ€™s like to be on the picket line. In his blog, Watson explains the life of a picketer and the troubles of being on the line. â€œWe had perhaps what I would call irate drivers who rushed the line [and] got visibly upset at the whole idea of having to wait. We got a lot of honks in support and a few middle fingers from the drivers along Steeles,â€ it reads. Watson has also frequently updated his Twitter account with information.
What’s interesting is that I’m trying my hardest not to battle. Obviously, I have a bias and am walking the picket line, but I’m very interested in getting my impressions out and letting others come to their own conclusion. In my personal posts on this site, I’ve tried hard not to tell anyone to have one perspective or another; rather I hope that by sharing my experiences and thoughts that it helps people who are interested make a better-informed conclusion on their own.
My other posting where I outlined my important issues in the strike got mentioned on the YU Blog. Interestingly, the argument articulated by this student was part of the impetus to start Voices from the Picket Line. Hana wrote:
I want to hear a TA speak about his or her inability to make ends meet, a contract faculty professor who has no job security from year to year, a union member laid off without any severance pay. Most importantly,Â I want the union to acknowledge the inconvenience itâ€™s caused students. I want the undergraduate voice to be supported by CUPE 3903, before I lend them my support by appearing in a rally.
So Hana, Voices from the Picket Line is for students (and others) like you.
- If you are a CUPE 3903 member and want to write a contribution, please feel free to do so and contact me: mailbox [at] gavan.ca [↩]