Saturday’s rally was an incredible showing of solidarity. Our resolve to finish this contract with a living wage and affordable healthcare was on full display for the community to see.
We heard moving speeches from staff and student leaders that touched on all aspects of how austerity affects them at Augsburg: A staff member rationing medical care because they can’t afford it; A student feeling like they have no representation in essential staff services; Departments being asked to cover for vacancies in ways that go far beyond their job descriptions and expertise; Potential applicants walking away from their dream jobs here because they can’t support their families with what’s offered; Students watching staff they built trust with have to leave after just a semester or two, and wondering if anyone will be hired to replace them.
The problem is clear to us. Staff turnover is catastrophically high. It impacts us–our workloads double or triple with no additional compensation or title change. It impacts students–they are left without vital support services. Staff leave because we are not supported.
President Pribbenow, stop the bleeding. We need to offer competitive wages and affordable healthcare. We cannot continue calling ourselves a progressive institution while also offering healthcare that ranks dead last in affordability amongst our peer institutions. The proposals that we have on the table are progressive and aim to keep and attract staff. Our proposals build structures for collaboration and growth for the whole campus community.
We will continue to show our solidarity until this contract is finished. Whether it’s a rally or a petition or simply using a Zoom background, one thing has remained clear: we’re not going anywhere. Our support for our union is just as strong as it was when we won it one year, three months, and 18 days ago.
Here are some wonderful pictures of our rally taken by friend of our union, Marc Hardaker!