The Student Worker Manifesto

Strawberry Jello #labor #press release

Insofar as the rights and interests to which the student workers of University Housing are concerned, a coherent set of goals is necessary. Such goals must be of sufficient scope so as to meaningfully impact student workers and be achievable through methods practical to implement. We, as student workers for University Housing, have both a moral and practical imperative to achieve these goals.

Thus I submit this manifesto, a comprehensive list of goals and ideals, so as to give us purpose and something to strive for:

  1. The establishment of a union of student workers by student workers for the explicit purpose of advancing the cause of worker rights. This is the prerequisite for any and all other initiatives proposed by this document.
  2. The guarantee of prosperity for all employees of University Housing, such that concerns of debt and poverty are nullified. This requires primarily a drastic increase of wages, no less than $20 per hour.
  3. The guarantee of security for all employees of University Housing, such that concerns of arbitrary job loss are nullified. This would require the implementation of legally binding retention assurances in all employee contracts.
  4. The proper observance of safety protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic. These measures need to ensure the physical safety of all staff members, the use of unlimited paid sick days to prevent the spread of the disease, and the guarantee of full time pay during all pandemic related closures.
  5. The ability to pursue one’s own personal goals while employed. This can be practically achieved by giving no fewer than 30 paid vacation days per year, in addition to a guaranteed year of paid maternity leave for both parents, regardless of gender. Additionally, student workers must be empowered to democratically distribute their schedules, so as to ensure that everyone may have their work accommodate their personal lives.

After these first five goals have been achieved, a Student Workers Union may begin working to achieve objectives which will solidify and reinforce these gains:

  1. The establishment of nascent worker democracy. By subsuming all non-logistical duties of the middle and upper management into the greater body of workers, more direct and efficient organization of the workplace may occur.
  2. The equal distribution of profits to all workers. Such a policy would result in the capital made by University Housing to be equally shared by those who actually created it.
  3. The abolition of all higher posts within the organization that do not explicitly serve some vital service, ensuring that wealth is not funneled to those who have not contributed to its creation.
  4. The ultimate dissolution of University Housing corporation as a profit-generating mechanism, and finally—
  5. The refocusing of services formerly provided by the corporate mechanisms of University Housing into simply holding value in and of themselves. This entails the excising of all activities currently carried out by University Housing to generate profit, such as charging rent for dorms and withholding necessities such as food behind a cost barrier. Such things will be distributed freely to those who need them, with the inefficiencies of the market fully done away with. This final step may only be truly achieved when the cause for worker rights has not only been achieved here, but throughout the rest of society as well.

The advancement of worker rights is only one vital facet of a much larger cause for social horizontalization. One person alone cannot possibly give voice to millions. Therefore, I must state that the goals and ideals I present to you in this manifesto are purely of my own creation. A true manifesto must be the creation of us all. This gives further reason for us to organize, so that we may create goals which we may all agree to aspire to. To ensure that we, the student workers of University Housing, are given the chance to thrive during these formative years of our lives, those goals must be achieved. By virtue of our humanity we deserve these rights long denied to us.

Take action, organize, and we may yet take back our futures!