Why a wave of graduate student unions is sweeping the country

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Universities are increasingly leaning on their grad students to do cheap labor—and those students are pushing back.

Philadelphia prides itself on being a union town. Those roots go deep; back in 1835, it was the site of the first general strike in American history. Uriah Stephens and a handful of other local garment cutters founded the Knights of Labor, the nation’s first industrial labor organization, in 1869. Nearly two centuries later, the city has played host to every kind of labor action, from the birth of influential unions like the American Federation of Full-Fashioned Hosiery Workers to innumerable strikes and protests across every industry imaginable.

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