This is the fourth installment of Chapter Reports from The Activist this Spring and will focus on minimum wage related campaigns from Purdue, Michigan and Minnesota. They have been lightly edited for clarity.
Nat Leach, Michigan
YDSA at the University of Michigan is growing and thriving. As the semester winds down, we are celebrating a great year of work and growth, culminating in an almost successful Fight For 15 campaign. After collecting almost 800 petition signatures, speaking at multiple Board of Regents meetings, meeting with Regents and student workers, we are having an energizing rally next Sunday co-hosted by YDSA and other on campus organizations. The Regents vote on the final budget for the next fiscal year in June, so our chapter is focused on keeping pressure on the Regents until they follow through on their promises to students. Since January, our chapter has learned how important it is for every person to be engaged in organizing, as even the smallest involvement can be an inspiration to people who want to get involved in a campaign, but are not exactly sure where to start. Even though our current campaign may be coming to a close, our members look eagerly to the Fall semester as we plan to hit the ground running with a university wide unionization campaign- hopeuflly just the next in a long series of student workers unionizing across the country.
Nathan, Purdue University
Purdue University YDSA has seen a consistent amount of members and is having good turnout. On Purdue’s campus there is an issue with our dining – administration has outsourced a lot of our dining to a private company called Aramark. Our chapter has recently started working with Greater Lafayette DSA on their $15 minimum wage campaign. We have also been starting to run our own campaign to help dining workers unionize. Since both of these endeavors are relatively new, the takeaway is that starting campaigns is very difficult. There were a lot more issues that we tried or considered. We as an organization have also been tabling a lot and have learned how to better communicate with our campus. Our members are getting much more involved on campus and we are all learning together about how to better organize.
Haley B., University of Minnesota
Our chapter started up again in Fall 2020 after dissolving a couple years ago. Currently we are beginning to plan an effort to organize an effort to raise campus minimum wage. The city minimum wage is $15 while the campus minimum wage is $10. We have talked about collaborating with other leftist groups on campus. In the past, we have learned that collaborating with other leftists makes us stronger, and this project along with others is helping us develop our skills in intergroup organizing.