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
- Kentucky Pride Is Not For Sale
Right now, over 30 students, faculty, staff, farmers, alumni, and community members are standing outside the administration building defending one of the last public campus dining services in the state of Kentucky.
- University of DC USAS Supports Adjunct Union
Here at the University of DC, adjunct faculty are organizing a union with SEIU Local 500, and students are standing with them. Earlier today, UDC USAS held a delegation to President Dr. James E. Lyon to show support for our adjuncts, and to call on the administration to remain neutral during the union election.
- Horde of Ghosts, Goblins, Students Oppose Privatization
Right now, 30 of us are packed into the hallway outside our President’s office dressed as ghosts, ghouls and goblins, raising our unearthly voices to demand…
- Campus Worker Justice “Hallo-Week of Action” Kicks Off at Memphis and UC Riverside
Today marks the first day of the “Hallo-Week of Action”, where students across the country…
- Under Pressure from Students, IUPUI Discards Parking Privatization Scheme
A year ago, students, faculty, and staff at IUPUI and IU Bloomington were getting ready for a big fight. They’d heard the IU Board of Trustees…