Campus Worker Justice


859217_10151306216031704_306644526_oAs tuition skyrockets and students rack up a mountain of debt, campus workers face stagnant wages and job insecurity. Administrators may try to pit us against each other, but we know that these are both results of the same problem: the corporatization of higher education. USASers across the country are joining alongside campus unions to call on administrators to halt corporate outsourcing, raise wages for low-wage campus workers, and negotiate fair contracts with campus unions.  

Over the past 19 years, USAS has used strategic student leverage to fight and win historic campaigns with campus workers.  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. USAS has campaigned with unions across the country to win union recognition and strong contracts.


Students across the country have joined the #USASfor15 movement, as we join fast food worker strikes and national Walmart actions for a higher minimum wage and union rights. Now, we’re bringing this fight to our campuses. Just this past fall, USAS Local 99 at the University of Washington–Seattle won $15 for all campus workers, including over 3,500 student workers. This makes UW the first university in the country to have a $15/hour minimum wage for all campus employees. Now, students at other colleges and universities across the country are taking the fight back to their campuses, demanding that their administrators ensure living wages for every campus worker, including student workers.


Despite sky-rocketing tuition, Colleges and universities on average, spend less than a third of their revenue on instruction. 75%, or nearly 1 million U.S. faculty members, are part-time or temporary employees with little to no job security. Oftentimes working multiple jobs, 31% of part time faculty members are living near or below the poverty level. We know that the basic respect and well-being of our faculty is crucial to the quality of our education and the integrity of our colleges and universities. That’s why we are supporting faculty organizing at dozens of universities across the country as they demand better treatment and a voice in how our universities are run.


Across the country, public colleges and universities are selling out to corporations.We’re uniting with statewide campus worker unions to save quality jobs and public higher education. USAS activists have fought privatization and outsourcing at the University of Wisconsin, the University of Texas, the Ohio State University, across the Tennessee state system, and throughout the University of California system. 


Updates in the Campaign