Strike Begins at OSU

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at SPAMosu.edu
Mon May 1 01:50:45 MDT 2000


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 1, 2000
Columbus, Ohio
For more info, contact Yoshie Furuhashi (at 614-299-3313 / furuhashi.1 at osu.edu)
or Mark D. Stansbery (at 614-252-9255 / walk at igc.org).
Strike Begins at OSU;
Faculty and Students Pledge Support
On April 30, about one thousand members of Local 4501, Communications Workers of
America (representing service and skilled trade workers at the Ohio State
University) and supporters held a candlelight vigil for the impending strike
from 8 PM, in front of Bricker Hall (the OSU administration building). Don
Slaiman of AFL-CIO spoke to workers: "you are fighting not just for you and your
families, you are fighting for all the working people in Columbus and beyond. If
you win this strike, you'll be pulling up everyone in the area with you." Local
4501 is demanding living wages and a fair contract that treats all CWA members
equally (in contrast to the OSU proposal that will give a separate, lesser
settlement to the CWA members who work at the OSU Hospitals); the union also
opposes the "merit pay" system that will give supervisors a power to exercise
favoritism and to punish workers arbitrarily.
At the vigil, faculty and graduate students pledged support for Local 4501. Dr.
Claudio Fogu, professor of history at the OSU, highlighted the importance of
unity among workers, faculty, and students. Many graduate students, some of whom
are grad union organizers themselves, spoke at the mike, emphasizing the need to
get the entire campus organized, "because that's the only way to bring justice
and democracy to the OSU." Faculty and grad students who support the strike will
be wearing yellow ribbons to signify solidarity and holding classes in the union
hall and other alternative locations, so as not to cross picket lines. The
sit-in at Bricker Hall, which began on April 26, will continue until the OSU
will meet the demands of Local 4501.
After the vigil, unionists and supporters moved from the main campus to the
University Hospitals, chanting "no contract, no work," to the rhythm of African
drums. Workers who just finished their shift walked out of the Hospitals and
joined the protest, to thunderous cheer and applause from the crowd. The strike
began at midnight, and unionists and supporters will walk the picket lines
today.



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