United Autoworkers strike Barnard College

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at columbia.edu
Wed Feb 28 11:30:53 MST 1996


Yes, that's right, the UAW. What's going on is that the administrative
workers, who are organized by the UAW, are on strike because they
are being asked to contribute premiums to their health plan for the
first time.

These workers are mainly black and female, many of whom are single
mothers. The union fears that additional health-care cost, while
initially small, will grow every time a new contract is negotiated.

I just came back from an inspiring picket-line in front of Barnard. The
strikers were joined by unionized maintenance workers from Columbia,
students from both institutions, professors and staff people like myself.
The combination of black female strikers, Barnard students with
green hair and nose earrings, white ethnic maintenance workers gives
a flavor of the the changing face of labor and labor support.

One of the key leaders of the strike is my pal Catherine who was
interviewed by the NY Times yesterday. She is organizing off-campus
classes and since she works in the Dean of Studies office, she knows
what she is doing and has been really successful. She is all pumped up.
This is the person who was a fan of Derrida two years ago and is now
reading Deleuze and Guattari. She had promised me to read some
Marx before the year is up. This strike may move that up on her

There are some major strike support activities slated for Friday but I'm
sworn to secrecy. I'll report on what happens when I get permission.
(This, by the way, comrades is the kind of *discipline* that has
meaning: Discipline that emerges out of the mass movement.)

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