Last week saw a sharp escalation of the strike by 3,000 student workers at Columbia University in New York City, which continues in the face of strikebreaking threats by the administration. In an effort to shut down the walkout before finals, the university warned striking student workers that it might replace them in the Spring semester if they remained on strike beyond Friday, December 10. Columbia workers rejected this attempt at economic blackmail and held out on the picket line. A poll conducted by the Student Workers of Columbia union (SWC) bargaining committee found that 87 percent of union members and nearly 77 percent of supporters of the strike wished for the strike to continue.
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Let’s give credit to the roughly 200 brave students who walked out of Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute last month. They were protesting how the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) has handled what it considers to be antisemitism within its schools. They were fed up with the way their Board – supposed to represent them – puts the brakes on statements, information or discussions that might offend some members of the Jewish community in Toronto who regard certain criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic. As I mentioned in an article a month ago, the Board has simply adopted the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre (FSWC) website as its own when it comes to setting out rules for what is and what is not antisemitic in TDSB schools.
New York City - On Wednesday, November 8, Columbia student workers (UAW Local 2110) held one of the largest pickets yet of their six-week strike to demand increased wages to meet costs of living, neutral third-party arbitration, and comprehensive healthcare benefits. Workers from unions throughout New York City such as the CUNY’s Professional Staff Congress (PSC), the Graduate Student Organizing Committee (GSOC) at NYU, the Teamsters, and NewsGuild of New York showed up to join the picket in solidarity with the striking workers. They picketed various entrances, encouraging those who attempted to enter the university to not cross the picket line. As a healthcare worker in New York City, I attended the picket to show my solidarity with the striking workers.
Massachusetts - Smith College students marched through the streets of downtown Northampton backed by a chorus of honking cars as they chanted, “We don’t want a prison nation, stop mass incarceration!” on Saturday, Dec. 4. This march was in support of a moratorium on prison and jail construction within Massachusetts that was introduced in the Massachusetts state legislature. The bill was written by Families for Justice and Healing and the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, who, along with Massachusetts Peace Action, sponsored the walk. Smith students and volunteers from other prison abolition organizations in the area met at the Smith Campus Center and walked through downtown Northampton to the post office and then back to the Campus Center.
On February 1, 2022, the relief student-loan borrowers have had since the start of the pandemic will be stripped away and they will be thrown back into repayment — whether they're ready or not. And most of them are not. The Student Debt Crisis Center, in partnership with Savi — a social impact technology startup — released the results of the fourth installment of the Student Debt x COVID-19 series on Wednesday examining the impact of the pandemic on student-loan borrowers. It found that although student-loan company communication to borrowers has improved since June, 89% of fully-employed borrowers say they do not feel financially secure enough to resume payments in a few months. One in five of the respondents said they will never feel financially-secure enough to restart their student-loan payments.