World Socialist Web Site wsws.org 23 Mar, 2021 04:15 am

An Open Letter to Columbia Graduate Students from the IYSSE at University of Michigan

An Open Letter to Columbia Graduate Students from the IYSSE at University of Michigan
The issues being fought for by graduate students—a living wage, job security, better health care coverage and improved working conditions—are the same issues that confront students, young people and workers across the country and around the world.

The International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) at University of Michigan express our strong support for the courageous stand taken by striking graduate student workers at Columbia University.There is no doubt that the graduate student workers at Columbia are up against immense political and financial interests.In order to advance the Columbia graduate student struggle, the fundamental political issues need to be clarified.Just last fall the graduate student strike at the University of Michigan over unsafe working conditions was shut down by the Graduate Employees’ Organization (GEO) under the pressure of its parent union, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the Democratic Party-controlled university administration.

First, the U-M struggle vindicated the perspective of the Socialist Equality Party and IYSSE that a successful struggle of graduate student workers must be based on the principle that all workers, including graduate student workers, have the right to a living wage, quality health care, and safe working conditions, regardless of what university officials and the corporate interests they represent claim is affordable.Several graduate student unions, including Columbia’s, from universities around the country have also issued statements of support.

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