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Abstract

The existence of graduate labor unions is seen as evidence of the changed and changing nature of academic economies over the past two decades. To be exact they are seen as a result of academic capitalism and broad trends towards corporatization (Bousquet, 2008; Lafer, 2003; Rhoads & Rhoades, 2005; Slaughter & Rhoades, 2004) whereby institutions of higher education increasingly engage in market-like behaviors and display “the culture, practices, policies, and workforce strategies more appropriate to corporations” (Steck, 2003, p. 66). This involves adopting “corporate models, cutting costs and seeking profit-making opportunities” resulting in heavy reliance on private funding for research and expanded commercial influence over academic pursuits (Clay, 2008, p. 11) Within the context of changing academic economies and corporate universities scholars see graduate employee unions as a potential source of resistance and progressive change (Bousquet, 2008; Lafer, 2003; Rhoads & Rhoades, 2005).

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