By Razzan Quran, University of Memphis USAS Local 68
Today marks the first day of the “Hallo-Week of Action”, where students across the country will be standing with campus workers to demand raises for low-wage campus workers, a halt to corporate outsourcing, and fair contracts for campus unions. Here at the University of Memphis, USAS Local 68 kicked off the Week of Action by going reverse trick-or-treating at our admin’s offices to demand living wages for campus workers in solidarity with United Campus Workers.
At the University of California Riverside, members of USAS Local 19 held a Funeral For Workers Rights, and are gearing up for reverse trick-or-treating and a rally in the upcoming days. The UC recently implemented drastic cuts on 22,000 campus and patient care workers in AFSCME 3299, and students have pledged to stand with workers if they go out on strike. This week USASers on over a dozen campuses will be holding zombie-themed flash mobs, haunted study-ins, and reverse trick-or-treating at the offices and homes of university administrators to demand justice for campus workers.
Here at the University of Memphis, we don’t want our University to be haunted by poverty, exploitation, and corporate greed. As our universities become run more and more like corporations, our admin are brewing steep tuition hikes and cuts to campus workers. U Memphis recently hired Brad Martin, a member of the Forbes 500 and retired CEO of Saks Inc as our interim president, while the University of California System just appointed Janet Napolitano, former Secretary of Homeland Security, as their president. While Brad Martin and Janet Napolitano enjoy lavish salaries, our campus workers work multiple jobs just to make ends meet. But you know what’s really spooky? While nearly 700 UC employees receive larger salaries than the President of the United States, 99% of service workers in the UC System are income eligible for some form of public assistance.
While faculty, students, and workers bear the burden of the de-funding of Higher Education, University Executives and the corporations they outsource continue to reap benefits. As students, we depend on the hard work of our campus employees, and won’t stand idly by while our universities implement drastic cuts on the backs of students and workers. This week, students will be standing with our adjunct faculty, service workers and patient care workers to tell our admin not to let poverty and exploitation haunt our campuses!