Our local’s work was ignited after workers discovered May 7th, 2018 that Louisiana State University was attempting to privatize its custodial, parking, and trade employees. Workers began to organize together in solidarity over this development and believed that it epitomized how the administration viewed us all as disposable. Workers began to talk to one another about how we could work against the privatization.
In April of 2019 graduate students took to Twitter with the #FierceFees hashtag which illustrated the disproportionately high fees the university charges to students and graduate students. The hashtag went viral, and Twitter was used by our organizers to contact graduate students and inform them of our attempts to organize.
Under pressure from the visibility of the graduate student’s campaign the University met with the graduate students on assistantship and agreed to reduce their annual $750 Academic Excellence fee over time. This concession from the university shows that they will weaken under pressure, but there is much left to fight for. Many students will graduate before the reduction of these fees takes effect. Meanwhile, some graduate students still must rely on the University’s student food pantry to feed themselves, while others take second jobs off the books in order to make ends meet (the University does not technically allow students on assistantship to have outside employment). Some custodial staff and even instructors also take second jobs because their salaries are not adequate to pay their bills.
Our story is not over. We continue to fight for bigger victories in the future. You can be part of that future. Join us!
The Communications Workers of America represents 700,000 workers in private and public sector employment in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.
CWA members work in telecommunications and information technology, the airline industry, news media, broadcast and cable television, education, health care and public service, law enforcement, manufacturing and other fields.