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LWAC meets with Students and Workers at Miami U of Ohio.
Feb 27, 2006

During the weekend of February 24-26, Shalini and I headed out to Oxford, Ohio for three days of planning, strategizing, and general merriment with the Miami University of Ohio Students for Staff.  Students for Staff began organizing in the Fall of 2005, following the lead of another student group, the Fair Labor Coalition, which was formed around a strike led by custodial and foodservice workers from AFSCME local 209 two years ago.  After the strike, the union was able to gain a wage increase, but the university still refuses to pay fair wages to workers on campus - even though the university president himself acknowledged that full time workers on the university's campus were living in poverty!  Workers and students on campus are fired up, and are ready to make sure that everyone working in the "Miami Community" is making a just, dignified, living wage!

After an intimate gathering Friday night where we watched the Georgetown hunger strike documentary, things really got rolling on Saturday morning.  Roughly 10 members of Students for Staff gathered to strategize around working with unionized and non-unionized workers on campus, creating demands from worker's grievances, and how to avoid that ever-scary phenomenon of activist burn out.  Later that night, we met with workers from the university (see staff member Sara Weisbrodt's testimony during last semester's public meeting) to discuss ways in which students and workers can better communicate and collaborate - over all, it was very successful and alot of great ideas were shared!  On Sunday, Students for Staff reconvened to begin hammering out specific plans and strategy for the coming months - there is no doubt that this group has a very exciting few months ahead of them as they move towards a powerful and savvy education campaign this spring.

Workers are taking a huge lead in this campaign - there is definitely going to be some exciting movement as union negotiations begin this summer and a new president signs on at Miami Ohio.  Check back for updates as this campaign continues to heat up!

In Solidarity,
Brie
Brie@livingwageaction.org

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