Oh. My. Word.
I was just about to respond assuring you that grad TAs at Cornell get paid handsomely (it really ain't bad - full tuition plus about $8500/semester stipend and health insurance) when I realized the Bizarro World nature of this conversation. Am I mistaken, Googler, or did you just go socialist on my ass?
Yup, one of my roomates this year was doing an M.Eng and he was paid very well. But one thing I've noticed is that international students are either very very wealthy or very poor. Thus, the poor international students need the money more than the American students do, and tend to apply for the jobs. The difference is obviously more pronounced in engineering/hard sciences than in other fields.
You heard it here first, kids. The union organizer is arguing against the raises advocated by the neo-con. Night has turned to day, up is down. I'm confused.
I am very against unions, but that doesn't mean that higher pay won't sometimes benefit the institution as a whole. I can't stand the Cornell union employees, as they produce bad work for way too much money. My fraternity house is owned by the University, and thus, we had to use union labor for any renovations we did. These guys (I believe they are represented by the UAW) were utterly incompetent. We were redoing the bathroom, and it literally took 8 weeks to redo one room and put in two shower stalls. One time I came into the house and found five of them f-ing off on our clean couches watching TV. I complained to the supervisor later that night, and mysteriously, the TV/DVD remotes turned up missing the next day.
I got into my share of arguments with these people over the years. One time I went to a speech by Jim Hightower (radical left-wing commentator) and I essentially accused him of supporting the lazy mafia thugs that control the unions (especially in construction and sanitation) in NYC while being a communist agitator. He accused me of bleeding propaganda, lol, which he had been doing for the past 30 minutes. Even Professor Cowie (hardly a champion of the conservative cause) commended me for taking a stand.
But there are other instances where I think pay should be increased. I have long argued that it is patently unfair that government interns don't get paid. These jobs are usually bull anyway, but they seem to help to have on the resumes. As it is, they are unpaid, so the only people who can afford to do them are those whose parents have enough money to subsidize them for that summer. Assuming there are 2,500 interns (5 for each congressman), and they paid them $4,000 per summer, that is only $10m a year, which is a blip in the federal budget. Hell, they could take 8% of the NEA's funding.