ABOVE ALL, WE ARE IN IT TOGETHER:
ELIMINATING RACIAL, CLASS, & SPATIAL DISPARITIES
One insight that we have gained throughout the last four months is that we who work for and study at UNC System campuses are all in it together in at least two ways. First, we share the situation where a conservative majority on the University Board of Governors for years has ruled us financially with the iron hand of free-market orthodoxy – driving us toward a profit oriented model which says basically, to the most “competitive” go the spoils, and as for the rest-- they are the “losers.” This has led to widespread race and class disparities within our student bodies, our non-instructional labor force, and our teaching and research labor force, and has led to great disparities across the campuses of the UNC System. As a result, we have been divided and siloed away from one another, despite the many common values and interests that we all share.
Second, racial and class disparities have led us to experience the pandemic in radically different ways. On some campuses, faculty have been “allowed” to teach online, while administrations have insisted that instructors on other campuses teach “in person”; in some campuses, campus constituencies have allowed for more protection for our workers, while workers on other campuses have been relatively neglected, and their rate of infections, lost income, and even deaths, illustrate this differential.
We believe that this situation of division along racial, class, and spatial lines within the UNC work force and student bodies has to stop. We therefore pledge to work together to rectify these divisions both within our campuses and across our campuses of the UNC System. This current crisis is the opportunity for us to move to extend our power and reach both within our campuses, and across our different campuses, to create new solidarities.
As a first step, we urge the creation of a UNC System-wide coalition of campus workers, including faculty, physical plant workers, housekeepers, graduate student workers, clerical workers and others across North Carolina to join us in our coalition of UE Local 150: the North Carolina Public Service Workers Union, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) chapters in the UNC System, and our other partners, to work together to forge collective power. Our mid-range objective is to rescind the law that makes it illegal for state government employees to collectively bargain with those who employ us. We know that this law has to be overturned if we are going to have a more prosperous and more effective University in meeting its mission.
We are confident that under these conditions, and with the demands that we have voiced, Another University is Possible.