“In early November 2017 the Republican-led House of Representatives released their version of what would become the Tax and Job Acts—an unprecedented give away to the wealthiest Americans. A provision in the bill would have included the ‘taxing’ of graduate student tuition waivers. As a result, graduate students could have owed the government thousands of dollars in ‘taxes,’ despite the majority of graduate students earning less than $20,000 a year. “
The failures of the Hormel plant strike in 1985-86 captured the U.S. public imagination, setting a defeatist tone for the labor movement. But what might the labor movement still learn from the successes of the 1984-85 Yale strike of mostly-women clerical and technical workers?
“In effect, the History Workshop Journal editors were reviving a longer legacy of solidarity between atomized elements of the working class; between university students and teachers, historians and the public, and campus workers and trade unions. Throughout the twentieth century, these groups allied in the face of existential threats.”
This article adopts critical auto-ethnography to examine how Australian university unions and unionists have developed strategies for campus activism. The enablers and restraints on union activism in Australian higher education are discussed using the device of vignettes of a unionist active in the sector from the 1980’s onwards, and an agenda for the future raised.