Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


TAA loses political viability

The grade strike is off.

And for the thousands of undergrads who would have had summer
internships, professional and graduate school applications and job
applications delayed, this is welcome news. Undergraduates will be
able to move on from this semester relatively unscathed by the
TAA’s childish job actions.

But for state negotiators and other players in the state
Capitol, that the TAs are backing down from threats of a grade
strike should come as no surprise.


In enacting a temporary walkout last week that amounted to
little more than a coordinated attention grab, TAs effectively
drained their fight of political viability, turning a vast majority
of students hampered by the self-interested strike away from their
cause. TA badgering, as undergraduates crossed picket lines to
attend class, disillusioned many such students who otherwise might
sympathize with the TAs.

Bascom and Chancellor Wiley, taking heat for the ongoing act of
frivolity over a miniscule health-care premium from which state
negotiators will not relent, turned heavily against the TAA as
well. Though previously supportive enough to offer an olive branch
in the form of $300,000 to fund a zero/zero health plan for TAs,
the chancellor’s open letter of late last week confirms
UW’s switch in stance. The core message of Wiley’s
letter was thus: We value the work you do, but stop whining and
take the deal.

Our sentiments exactly.

But the TAA may have pushed things too far for policy makers
off-campus less inclined to be friendly to its cause. State
legislators including Sen. Tom Reynolds, R-West Allis, are on the
record as toying with the possibility of withholding the
TAA’s bargaining rights. Should legislation such as this pass
in the next legislative session; the TAs’ little attention
grab could prove to be all but a death knell for their
organization. Hence, they took the first politically cogent step of
backing down from any more illegal job actions.

Do not for a moment believe the spin put forth by the TAs. The
TAA’s recent strike moved them a step back from its goal of a
zero/zero health care plan. A grade strike would have represented
another political step back; and the political step is one they
cannot afford. With Bascom administrators, rank-and-file students,
state legislators and the general public aware of the pettiness of
their cause, the TAs now find their heels up against a political

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