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
- Tell the University of Chicago: No Dining Worker Layoffs
Less than one week before the end of the school year, UChicago dining workers continue to face uncertainty about their employment in the fall. The University plans to close down Pierce Hall for renovations at the end of this school year…
- “Progressive” Evergreen College Pushes Workers to Strike Vote
The Evergreen State College is a well-known liberal arts college that markets itself to students as a “progressive” institution. However, union negotiations between student support staff and the Administration have come to a standstill over basic worker rights and fair pay.
- Right Now: Students and Workers Getting Arrested for a Fair Contract
Moments ago, 13 students and workers at the University of California were arrested after they took over a Board of Regents meeting and demanded a fair contract for UC Patient Care workers represented by AFSCME Local 3299.
- Penn Kosher Dining Hall Employees Join Teamsters!
The workers at Penn’s Falk Dining Commons were officially recognized as union members of Teamsters Local 929. Bon Appetit employees Troy Harris and Kareem Wallace…
- Stop Captive Audience Intimidation at the University of Miami
At the University of Miami, campus workers are facing fierce intimidation for exercising their right to join a union. Just days after agreeing to respect workers’ right to choose a union through a majority signup process, Chartwells, a food service corporation owned by Compass Group, launched a vicious anti-union campaign…