I came to MIT excited for an excellent graduate education in Materials Science and Engineering. After my first few weeks, it became clear to me that much of the work of crafting an education for both graduate and undergraduate students fell to the TAs. They were responsible for attending lectures, drafting problem sets in advance, teaching multiple recitation sessions each week, preparing review sessions, holding office hours, updating and configuring Canvas, drafting exam questions, proctoring exams, and grading problem sets, term papers, and exams. They do all of this while still being expected to conduct world-class research and take on many additional administrative and maintenance tasks.
Teachers unionize to reduce class sizes so they can focus on providing the best education possible to their students. Nurses unionize to fight understaffing so they can give their patients quality care. We’re unionizing so we can focus on conducting world-class research.