Workers across the United States are facing an uncertainty in the workplace that hasn’t been seen since the Great Depression. Our generation is constantly reminded that we are the first generation to be financially worse off than our parents. The biggest concern for many university students is not whether we’ll be able to find good jobs, but any jobs after graduating. It’s becoming clear that when conditions deteriorate for the lowest paid workers, the standards drop for all workers. When bosses refuse basic rights on the job and bust unions for low-wage service workers, there’s no telling who’s next on the chopping block. A good union job is essential to keeping all of society out of poverty and holding back the greed of the wealthy elite.
Campus workers and USASers have been fighting and winning just working conditions and union representation for over 15 years together. In 1999, across the University of Tennessee system, students and workers in Progressive Student Alliances across the state launched Living Wage campaigns from Memphis to Knoxville, leading to the founding of the United Campus Workers union. From 1999 to 2002, the Harvard Living Wage campaign rocked Cambridge, Massachusetts for over four years as students campaigned alongside dining hall workers, janitors, and security guards to win union representation and unprecedented wage increases. Students Toward A New Democracy (STAND) was on the front lines at the University of Miami when janitors employed by UNICCO went on strike for union representation in 2006 and later threatened another strike for a fair contract in 2010.
Most recently, the USAS affiliate, the Progressive Student Alliance at Northeastern University, mobilized over 40 campus organizations and over 500 students and faculty to support Chartwells food service workers as they became the largest university shop of UNITE HERE Local 26.
At a time when anti-worker politicians and corporations are uniting more than ever to squeeze the most out of the lowest paid workers in America, students and workers must unite to show that we will be the combined force to be reckoned with and will fight to set a higher standard for all workers starting with our campus workers.
Updates from the Campus Worker Justice Tour
- Napolitano: Drop the Charges Against Peaceful Picketers
Last week during a peaceful picket line at the University of California Santa Cruz, riot police tackled a union leader and photographer, and arrested 22 students and union members.
- Adjuncts Speak Out at Northeastern University
Today, the Empower Adjuncts Community Coalition held a Worker Speak Out to draw attention to the growing movement of adjunct unionization on campus.
- UT Chattanooga USAS and UCW Launch Living Wage Campaign
Today the re-launched UT Chattanooga USAS local delivered a letter to Chancellor Steve Angle…
- Stop Intimidation of Adjuncts at the MD Institute College of Art
At the Maryland Institute College of Art, the administration has launched an all out union-busting campaign against adjunct faculty…
- Tennesseans Descend on Capitol to Demand Living Wages and Higher Ed Funding
Right now USASers from across the state of Tennessee are descending on the state capitol with fast food workers, campus workers…