Column: AFSCME deserves all of our support

Luke Taylor, Editor-in-Chief

Students at Eastern need to support the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees in their ongoing efforts to negotiate with our university’s administration.

I’ve been helping to cover this situation for the entire 2020-21 school year, and as I continue to watch it unfold this summer, I can’t help but feel that we as students are letting down the union to some extent.

The union members who are protesting are people we see every day: building service workers, dining hall cooks and kitchen workers, office employees and tech workers.

These people do some of the most irritating jobs on campus and have to deal with all of us students running around all the time.

Without them, our school would literally have to stop operating. Our living spaces would get dirty, we wouldn’t be able to just call offices and get information, we wouldn’t be able to get food… the list goes on.

The least we can do to appreciate these employees is support them in their efforts to receive fair wages and good contracts, because that’s genuinely all they’re asking for.

Minimum wage in the U.S. is already abysmally low, and Eastern’s administration is barely offering more than that to clerical workers.

The cost of living continues to rise each year, and Eastern’s administration won’t guarantee even a minimal yearly raise to employees who have worked here for years.

Students who live on campus: show up to AFSCME’s protests. Stand in solidarity with them.

Even if you don’t live here, you’ve benefited from a union member’s labor as through clerical and technical work.

Not on campus right now? Call the university. Email President Glassman and members of the Board of Trustees.

Remind them that as a university, Eastern’s job is to serve the students, and the students want the people who work so hard for us to be paid fairly and not be afraid of unjustly losing their jobs.

Members of the Board of Trustees: it is your duty to make the right choice on this issue. Most students don’t directly observe what you do, but your decisions are important to all of us.

Every college student wants to be able to look back at their alma mater after graduation and know that the university they attended is still making a positive impact on the world.

The Board meets on Friday. AFSCME members will be protesting in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union beginning at 11:30. Take half an hour out of your day to show up and support them.

Luke Taylor can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]