Student Support for SEIU Continues

As we move towards a strike, we continue to get overwhelming support from Student Leaders.

Press Release from UO Student Body President Sam Dotters-Katz (9/12/13):

Following the vote to strike by OUS workers represented by SEIU 503, Associated Students of the University of Oregon President Sam Dotters-Katz has called for a statewide student walkout on OUS campuses. Beginning on September 23rd, the first day of the strike, the ASUO President is asking students not to cross picket lines, and to join workers in the ongoing struggle for a fair contract.

“These folks work some of the lowest paying and often least appreciated jobs on campus. They deserve a contract that treats them with dignity, respect, and most importantly fairness,” said President Dotters-Katz. “Beginning on September 23rd [NOW SEPTEMBER 30th], we will be asking students not to cross picket lines, beginning with law students already back in classes. Instead, we ask students to join in protest with workers, and for faculty to hold classes on picket lines when possible. We are also working with the faculty senate to minimize any adverse academic impact on students who choose not to cross picket lines and won’t be attending class.”

Following the ASUO’s decision to walkout and hold the line with striking workers, student leaders on several campuses around the state voiced their support, including Oregon State University student body president Brett Deedon, and Portland State student body president Harris Foster.

“I fully support the efforts at UO, and we will be engaged in similar actions here at OSU,” said ASOSU President Brett Deedon. “It’s important for student leaders around the state to work together in coordinated actions like this, because the magnitude of what we are doing is multiplied when our voices are united.”

Late Wednesday night, the Oregon Student Association conducted an emergency executive committee meeting. After over an hour of debate, the body voted to support a statewide student day of action in support of the striking workers.

On the first day of the strike, students at every OUS campus will be engaged in different actions in support of staffers, joining picket lines, and holding educational events with students and faculty.

Even with widespread support, campus leaders believe many students will cross pickets lines and attend classes.

“Higher education is expensive, and students certainly pay a lot for every hour of instruction. The decision whether or not to cross picket lines is personal for each student, and no one should be demonized for attending their classes,” said ASUO President Sam Dotters-Katz. “However, I made the decision to ask students to hold the line after talking with two staffers at the UO who voted to strike, are married, and whose income is the sole means of support for their large family. That’s a huge risk they are taking, a real sacrifice, so I feel we must stand with these working folks in their struggle, especially considering the fact that all they are asking for is a fair deal.”

Since the recession began in 2009, staff at OUS campuses have taken dozens of furlough days, and their ranks have suffered from rounds of layoffs.

SEIU Local 085