Yale, Harvard, Stanford, and Kent State Universities each hosted labor conferences this weekend, building on recent pro-labor activities on those campuses.
In a joint effort, students at Harvard, Stanford, and Kent State universities convened on their respective campuses to discuss the possibility of starting a nationwide alliance of student activists and members of the union movement. It is the students’ hope that the power conveyed by a unified alliance will help them to achieve change on their campuses.
The focus of Yale’s conference was to strategize on how graduate teaching assistants could form a union. So far, Yale officials have refused to recognize the teaching assistants as members of a union because it classifies the assistants as students, and not employees.
Labor leaders including A.F.L.-C.I.O. Executive Vice President Linda Chavez-Thomson and Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union President John Wilhelm spoke to Yale conference participants, urging them to fight for labor rights and encouraging them to consider a career in the union movement. Several special sessions were designed to teach students how to organize and fight for social change.