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: freemusicarchive.org)

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

Maximillian Alvarez

Editor-in-Chief

Ten years ago, I was working 12-hour days as a warehouse temp in Southern California while my family, like millions of others, struggled to stay afloat in the wake of the Great Recession. Eventually, we lost everything, including the house I grew up in. It was in the years that followed, when hope seemed irrevocably lost and help from above seemed impossibly absent, that I realized the life-saving importance of everyday workers coming together, sharing our stories, showing our scars, and reminding one another that we are not alone. Since then, from starting the podcast Working People—where I interview workers about their lives, jobs, dreams, and struggles—to working as Associate Editor at the Chronicle Review and now as Editor-in-Chief at The Real News Network, I have dedicated my life to lifting up the voices and honoring the humanity of our fellow workers.
 
Email: max@therealnews.com
 
Follow: @maximillian_alv