9/14/07

AFSCME pay strike triggers students hunger strike

Hundreds of University of Minnesota students rallied in support of striking union workers on Thursday. The students gathered in front of Coffman Union to announce they'll go on a hunger strike in a show of support to union workers who are striking for higher pay. AFSCME union workers walked off the job on Wednesday, September 5 after negotiations with the U of M failed.

Amit Singh is one of those who will begin the hunger strike on Monday, September 17. The graduate student says, "We have tried for two weeks to get the administration to listen to us. All we want is for them to give the AFSCME workers a living wage."

The students striking in solidarity read a statement at the noon rally, which said in part:

"Our professors and graduate assistants have written many collective letters of solidarity, and thousands of students have attended classes off-campus to show that we refuse to cross the picket lines. We do this with courage, in spite of the vague threats by the administration to discipline us and our teachers. Yet they still refuse our demands. When a hundred of us tried to speak face-to-face with the decision makers in the Board of Regents, we were ignored and arrested..
The administration's treatment of the AFSCME workers represents a future of economic injustice and inequality. The administration's offer is not only unfair, it violates the inherent human rights of workers to a livable and equitable wage. We refuse to live in that world and we refuse to silently allow our institution to perpetuate this inequality and injustice."

University officials say they have offered the union workers a fair wage increase, but say they cannot meet the union's demand for higher wage hikes.

(kare11.com)

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