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Higher Ed Strikes & Workers’ Rights: Improving News Coverage of Labor Issues

February 15 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm CST

Higher Ed Strikes & Workers’ Rights: Improving News Coverage of Labor Issues


Higher education’s growing labor movement has made local, national, and international headlines lately, in part due to large-scale strikes at places like University of California at the end of 2022. Join us for a panel discussion with graduate worker organizers from universities across the United States who will share their insights into labor issues that news coverage often overlooks. Free, virtual, and open to journalists, journalism students, journalism educators, and editors.


Rachel Forgash is a fourth year PhD student at UCLA studying political theory and rank-and-file organizer with UAW 2865.  Rachel has been organizing with graduate workers’ unions for over 5 years. She first got involved as a department steward while attending the University of Illinois, Chicago as a graduate student. In her time at UIC, she helped organize a three-week strike in 2019. Since coming to UCLA, Rachel has served as a department steward, head steward, Unit Chair, and bargaining committee member with UAW 2865. In her capacity as Unit Chair and bargaining member, she helped organize the recent 2022 UC academic workers strike in which over 40,000 workers went on strike for six weeks.

Joseph Guidry is a second-year astronomy PhD student worker at Boston University. Since arriving in Boston Joseph has been organizing with the Boston University Graduate Workers Union (BUGWU-SEIU L509). In December BUGWU won its NLRB election in record-smashing fashion at a 98% margin. Joseph is now especially motivated to continue organizing rank and file power within BUGWU and enter bargaining. Joseph came to BU from UT Austin. While an undergrad there he worked with the grassroots movement People for PMA that won the renaming of the Physics, Math, and Astronomy Building.

Lauren Nelson is a PhD candidate in English at the University of Texas at Austin, where she specializes in Anglophone and Francophone Caribbean literature, postcolonial theory, and the environmental humanities. She is also on the organizing committee of Underpaid@UT, a graduate student coalition fighting for a living wage and fair working conditions. Her writing has been published or is forthcoming in Representations, Feminist Modernist Studies, Post-45 Contemporaries, and The Los Angeles Review of Books.


Brad Limov is a PhD candidate in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is also a graduate research assistant for the Solidarity Journalism Initiative at the Center for Media Engagement. He organizes with Underpaid@UT and the Texas State Employees Union (CWA-6186). His research examines the relationship between media production and social movements.


Anita Varma leads the Solidarity Journalism Initiative at the Center for Media Engagement (University of Texas at Austin), where she is also an assistant professor focused on journalism ethics. She is on the board of the Society of Professional Journalists (Northern California Chapter) and the advisory board of The Objective.




Center for Media Engagement
View Organizer Website


Target Audience
Alumni, Faculty, Staff, Students, General Public
Center for Media Engagement, Communication Council Communication and Media, Communication, Department of Communication Studies, Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, School of Journalism and Media

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