Tag Archives: USLAC

Michael Roth, Protest, and Free Speech (Part 1 of 2)

 

Many students, myself included, feel that Roth’s advocacy and authority on free speech and campus protest do not line up in reality given his record of activity concerning these topics at Wesleyan, using his perceived advocacy to both profit himself (such as the release of a book that addresses his advocacy for his brand of free speech), as well as Wesleyan itself. Let’s take a look at his and Wesleyan’s record in recent times.

Students and Custodians Allege Labor Violations against Wesleyan

Wesleying stands in solidarity with our custodial workers in their fight to be treated with dignity and respect as they clean and care for our campus. We affirm their demand for Wesleyan to hire five more workers, and offer our platform and support to the workers and students who are organizing to achieve this.

Tomorrow (Friday, April 26), at noon, students, campus workers, and community members will join together at North College to rally for Five More Workers: Support Good Jobs at Wes. Students, other Wesleyan workers, community organizations, labor unions, artists, and even two sitting Congresspeople (Rep. Pramila Jayapal WA-07 and Rep. Andy Levin MI-09) have expressed their support for Wesleyan’s custodial workers, and Friday’s rally is anticipated to be the largest action yet.

This comes just two weeks after United Student/Labor Action Committee (USLAC) organized a series of protests and disruptions during WesFest to call attention to the unreasonable workloads of our school’s custodians and to demand that Wesleyan hire five more workers. (If you want to know more about the WesFest actions, the Argus did a great job covering them.)

Since WesFest, the administration has failed to take action on (or take seriously) the protesters’ demands and workers’ testimonies, citing data shared in an all-campus email from Chief Administrative Officer, and Treasurer Andy Tanaka on Wednesday, April 24 as justification. USLAC responded by sharing a point-by-point rebuttal of the “facts” presented in Tanaka’s email.

A graph compiled by USLAC to explain perceived flaws in the administration’s data analysis

As mentioned in these documents, there have been new developments with regard to the legality of Wesleyan and SMG’s employment practices. On Friday, April 19, Wesleyan students and custodians worked together to file a National Labor Relations Board charge against Service Management Group (SMG), a custodial services subcontractor, and Wesleyan University as joint employers. This occurred after custodians and students reviewed SMG’s corporate handbook and identified several violations of federal labor law.

Read on to learn more about the violations, their significance, and to view the full redacted complaint.

Wes Students Support Yale Grad Student Union in “The Fast Against Slow”

UNITE HERE 217 and Wesleyan Students at Yale for the start of the occupation/strike

Wesleyan students from United Student/Labor Action Coalition and Wesleyan Democratic Socialists joined Yale graduate school employees from UNITE HERE Local 33 on Tuesday evening to kick off a hunger strike meant to pressure Yale administration into entering contract negotiations with the newly-formed union. Eight graduate school employees from Local 33 have committed to an indefinite hunger strike being called “The Fast Against Slow.”

Read more about the strike after the jump:

Fair Wages, Fair Hiring: More on Yesterday’s Demonstrations and Student Meeting with RJ Julia

Two weeks ago, USLAC released a statement highlighting unfair hiring practices by management at RJ Julia Booksellers, the managing company of Wesleyan’s new book store, which is scheduled to open later this year. Specifically, USLAC brought attention to workers being promised interviews at the new bookstore and having to wait months for an interview. According to the statement, several nonwhite employees were told that they didn’t fit the “RJ Julia Experience.”

USLAC made three public demands of RJ Julia and the Wesleyan administration in response to these accounts:

1. Give all current bookstore workers the opportunity to keep their jobs if they wish to.
2. Guarantee that returning workers will receive at least the salary and benefits they had been receiving before the move.
3. Inform workers immediately about any changes in their workplace and allow them the chance to discuss these issues freely without fear of losing their jobs.

Monday afternoon, a delegation of students voiced their concerns to the RJ Julia general manager outside of North College after a meeting between two students and the general manager was interrupted by a fire alarm.

USLAC Statement Highlights Unfair Hiring Practices by Wesleyan’s New Bookstore, Hints of Potential Boycott

“If the Wesleyan Administration and R.J Julia refuse to meet these conditions, we will organize a boycott of the new bookstore until they do.”

Last Thursday night, we received a tip from a member of USLAC (United Student/Labor Action Coalition) about unfair hiring practices by the managing company of the new Wesleyan bookstore on Main Street, RJ Julia Booksellers. The tip read as a press release and was also shared on the USLAC Facebook page, where it received over 20 shares.

In the release, USLAC members state that current employees at Broad Street were promised jobs early on by R.J. Julia, but were left without any concrete information on on their future employment for months, only to find out that their new positions would come with a cut to their pay and benefits. The release also highlights accounts of racially-coded criticism coming from management at R.J. Julia. The statement makes 3 specific demands of R.J. Julia and the Wesleyan administration and hints of future actions and a potential boycott of the bookstore if the demands are not met. Read past the jump for USLAC’s full statement:

Unofficial Orientation Series 2016: Rage Update

isthiswhy1

Students march to South College as part of ISTHISWHY Campaign

Content warning: This article discusses issues of sexual assault. Community and official support resources can be accessed here, here, and here.

This is part of our 2016 Unofficial Orientation Series. A quick reminder that you can check out the welcome post here and past years’ series here.

For some reason, this post was not included in last year’s Unofficial Orientation Series, even though we had some major student activism occurring during the 2014-2015 school year. Before I link to some of that history and go more in-depth as to some actions occurring this past year, I want to start by quoting alt‘s incredibly well-written intro to the 2014 Rage Update:

In Depth: USLAC

uslacWelcome to another one of our In Depth features, where I’ll be covering USLAC. (By the way, in case you haven’t picked up on my blatant pro-USLAC bias yet, I’m a member of the club/out here ~*~scamming 4 full communism at Wes~*~, depending on who you ask. Either way, true.)

USLAC, or the United Student/Labor Action Coalition, has been around at Wesleyan for a while. However, until about halfway this semester, USLAC was on a brief hiatus. Old school USLAC did some super good work on campus, which you can read about here, and some students wanted to have the opportunity to make a difference on campus. So the new members, coordinated with former USLAC members to revive the club. They also took the opportunity to connect with a dope organization that hosts chapters of labor rights groups at schools nationwide, USAS, or United Students Against Sweatshops. So many acronyms! And whoa-what is USLAC anyway, right? Because I’m not nearly eloquent enough to describe the group’s mission myself, here’s a handy description I got from good ‘ole Orgsync:

Ecofeminism, Eco-Grief, and Climate Justice: A Conversation With Heidi Hutner

ecoJosh Nodiff ’19 writes in:

Come join Dr. Heidi Hutner, Associate Dean and Director of Sustainability Studies at Stony Brook University, in a conversation
about ecofeminism, eco-grief, and climate justice! A longtime environmental activist and writer, Dr. Hutner will be addressing the dangerous Algonquin Pipeline and Indian Point power plant, as well as nuclear issues, fracking, and climate justice at large. Dr. Hutner will also facilitate an interactive workshop in which students can discuss and further their own activism at Wesleyan, as well as collaborate to build an intercollegiate coalition for climate justice. The discussion and workshop are open to everybody on campus!

This event, which coincides with the 30-year anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, is sponsored by Fossil Fuel Divest, Veg Out, and the United Student/Labor Action Coalition.

For more info, check out the Facebook event!

Date: Monday, April 26
Time: 4:15 – 6:30 PM
Place: PAC 004

What’s Going on With the Fight for a $15/Hour Minimum Wage at Wesleyan?

wage increase

Full disclosure: I’m a member of USLAC and one of the proponents of the resolution discussed in this feature.

Perhaps you’ve heard about the resolution that passed at Sunday night’s WSA meeting but probably not because the only WSA-related things we hear about are Argus controversies with its ~concise, catchy~ title, “Resolution to Raise the Minimum Wage for Wesleyan Students.” All jokes aside, that’s exactly what it aims to do. The resolution, proposed by a group of WSA members working with members of student groups United Student/Labor Action Coalition (USLAC) and Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), seeks to address the issue of overworked students and their low wages.