COVID-19 has put an incredible amount of pressure on higher education and its workers, including graduate students and contingent faculty who shoulder heavy workloads and make poverty-level or near-poverty-level wages. While simultaneously fighting to get universities to recognize them as workers, many graduate students around the U.S. are organizing, demanding, and even striking for better wages, benefits, and treatment. In the first segment of this week’s “Marc Steiner Show,” we speak with three graduate workers and organizers about what they’re fighting for and what these fights mean for the future of higher education: Rithika Ramamurthy, an English Ph.D. candidate at Brown University and president of the Graduate Labor Organization; Harlan Chambers, a Ph.D. student at Columbia University in the Institute of Comparative Literature and Society, and member of the Graduate Workers of Columbia – UAW Local 2110 and the Columbia Academic Workers for a Democratic Union caucus; and Dylan Iannitelli, a sixth-year Ph.D. student in Biology at NYU and a steward for the Graduate Student Organizing Committee, the grad worker union at NYU.

Then, in our second segment, we kick off an exciting collaboration with Jacobin magazine by talking with Matthew E. Stanley about his recent series of Jacobin articles on the continued relevance of forgotten or understudied struggles in 19th-century America. Stanley is an assistant professor of History at Albany State University in Albany, Georgia, he is the author of “The Loyal West: War and Reunion in Middle America,” and he has a new book coming out with the University of Illinois Press called “Grand Army of Labor: Workers, Veterans, and the Meaning of the Civil War.”


Tune in for new episodes of The Marc Steiner Show every Friday on TRNN.

Marc Steiner

Host, The Marc Steiner Show

Marc Steiner, interim co-Editor at TRNN, is a Peabody Award-winning journalist who has spent his life working on issues of social justice. He walked his first picket line at age 13 and at age 16 became the youngest person in Maryland arrested for Civil Rights protests, in the Freedom Rides through Cambridge. As part of the Poor People’s Campaign in 1968, Marc helped organize poor white communities with the Young Patriots, the white Appalachian counterpart to the Black Panthers. Early in his career he counseled at-risk youth in therapeutic settings and founded a theater program in the Maryland State prison system. He also taught Theatre for 10 years at the Baltimore School for the Arts. From 1993 through 1997 his signature “Marc Steiner Show” aired on Baltimore’s public radio airwaves, both WYPR – which Marc co-founded – and Morgan State University’s WEAA.