World Socialist Web Site wsws.org 01 Apr, 2021 03:45 am

Columbia University grad workers must form a rank-and-file committee to spread their strike!

Columbia University grad workers must form a rank-and-file committee to spread their strike!
The struggle by graduate student workers at Columbia University for a living wage shows the need to build a rank-and-file committee independently of the UAW and the Democratic Party that will unite with K-12 educators and other workers in a common struggle.

There is a pressing need for all educators in New York City to form rank-and-file committees independently of the trade unions in order to take up a political and industrial struggle to defend education, public health, and fight for decent living standards.In an effort to avert having two university strikes in the same city, the UAW has systematically sought to isolate the Columbia strike from even a potential strike at New York University, where graduate workers are organized in the same local and are still voting on a strike authorization.This is a situation every K-12 educator in New York City has experienced firsthand.In New York, this has been implemented by Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo, as part of the broader reopening campaign of both the Trump and Biden administrations.

After closing schools and some nonessential businesses in March 2020 under the threat of sickouts and job actions, especially by New York City public school teachers, by August there was a systematic effort underway to reopen the schools.The reopening effort was accompanied by a massive propaganda campaign in the media, led by the New York Times, to portray school buildings as safe and COVID-19 transmission rates among children as low, while vilifying educators as lazy.

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