ST. LOUIS — Washington University here will commit at least $1 million over the next two years toward higher salaries and better benefits for low-paid contract employees as a result of a 19-day sit-in by students demanding a living wage for service workers. Wash U’s Student Worker Alliance (SWA) reached a groundbreaking agreement with campus officials April 22. “We won more in the last 19 days than we won in the last 18 months put together,” said SWA member Ojiugo Uzoma.
Despite threats of retribution and tense negotiations that included a one-day walkout, graduate student instructors (GSI) at the University of Michigan claimed a major victory when their membership ratified a three-year contract with the university on April 3.
BERKELEY, Calif. — Hundreds of striking service workers, other campus workers, students and faculty gathered on the steps of International House on the University of California–Berkeley campus April 14 to greet incoming UC Chancellor Robert Birgeneau with shouts of “Living wage now” and signs reading, “Strike for justice at UC.” Birgeneau, who was attending a faculty reception on the eve of his inauguration, has said he supports a living wage for the service workers. The service workers, whose wages have not been raised in two years, held their one-day walkout at a dozen UC facilities statewide.
Labor and immigrant rights organizations assembled at San Jose’s State Building April 7 to kick off national days of action against the Bush administration’s virulently anti-immigrant Real ID Act, now pending in the Senate. They urged a flood of calls and faxes to California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, neither of whom have expressed a position on the measure.