"They Ain't Seen Nothin Yet" - General Assembly Reportback

. Wednesday, March 17, 2010

During the student strike on March 4th, the UW Student Worker Coalition (UWSWC) called for a General Assembly (GA) to discuss the next steps in the fight against budget cuts and privatization. For those of you who wanted to attend but couldn't make it, here is a very brief summary of the GA:

At the GA, there was overwhelming support for the May 3rd grad student worker strike. Grad student workers such as TAs and RAs are negotiating their contract right now and the UW administration is demanding concessions that will lower their pay, threaten their job security, and require them to pay more for health care. They will be striking on the 3rd to resist this. They will also be striking to fight for smaller class sizes which will benefit undergrads. The majority of people at the GA supported proposals for a student strike on the same day in solidarity with the grad student workers becuase we will be more powerful if we fight together.

Many people at the GA also agreed to support those rank and file WFSE local 1488 workers who want to strike against massive cuts to their healthcare and other abuses; if WFSE workers do decide to strike, we can encourage them to do so on May 3rd, the same day as grad student workers and undergrads so that our combined power will be stronger.

Many people at the GA proposed that we can actually shut down the campus with firmer picket lines then we had on March 4th. March 4th was a half day student strike; May 3rd could be a full day or longer joint student-worker strike similar to what happened at UC Santa Cruz. If we don't get to that point by the beginning of May, then we'll do as much as we can.

The GA recommended that April be a month of agitation/outreach to build for the May 3rd strike. The three most popular event recommendations for April were:

1) Debate between anti-budget cuts organizer(s) and Young Democrats, Young Republicans, Libertarians, Mark Emmert, or the Board of Regents (obviously lots of potential opponents - yet to be decided). The debate would be a method to make our analysis of the budget cuts (at the state level and the university level) more public. It would also be an opportunity to foreground the need for a mass movement uniting both students and workers at UW, as well as the broader community.

2) Fundraiser to build a strike fund for lower-paid WFSE workers, so that a day-long or multiple day strike would be more feasible for workers.

3) Teach-in - Could be about the budget cuts, the history of resistance at UW, the importance of strikes, etc. The topic(s) have yet to be finalized.

There was also support for a possible day of action on May 27th or May 28th which MEChA may organize as part of their national conference.

We discussed how we can reach out to more students from groups at the Ethnic Cultural Center; many students from these groups came out to the March 4th strike.

1) The independent graduate student labor group, For a Democratic University (FaDU) is holding a rally outside of their contract negotiations. Please come out and support them as they pressure the university to negotiate a fair contract.
When: March 31st, 3:30pm
Where: South Campus Center

We hope individuals and groups will continue to join the struggle for our education and our jobs. Please let us know if you would like to be involved in any of the upcoming events or organizing efforts. We can be reached at uwstudentworkercoalition@gmail.com. The UW Student Worker Coalition meets every Thursday at 6pm in Suzzallo Cafe.

In Struggle,