COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the world of higher education: forced campus reopenings have pushed many directly into harm’s way; colleges and universities have suffered massive budget shortfalls; some institutions have closed permanently; the academic job market has been blown up; etc. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, “the U.S. Labor Department has estimated that American academic institutions have shed a net total of at least 650,000 workers.”

This week, we talk to Aaron Major, associate professor of Sociology at the State University of New York (SUNY), Albany, and president of the Albany chapter of United University Professions, the nation’s largest higher education union. We talk about Aaron’s path to higher ed and the academic labor movement, and we discuss how COVID-19 has revealed the brokenness of our higher education system, as well as the need to reinvest in higher ed as a public good and to raise the floor for all campus workers.

Additional links/info below…

Featured Music (all songs sourced from the Free Music Archive:

  • Jules Taylor, “Working People Theme Song”
  • Laurie Johnson – “Happy Go Lively ” – Voicemail Song
  • Man Bites Dog, “College Rock”

Maximillian Alvarez


Maximillian Alvarez is the editor-in-chief of The Real News Network, and the host of Working People, ​“a podcast by, for, and about the working class today.” His work has been featured in venues like In These Times, The Nation, The Baffler, Current Affairs, and The New Republic.