December 08, 2021 – The largest strike in the country, involving over 3,000 student workers and supporters, is taking place in New York City across two Columbia University campuses.
In an effort to highlight their nearly six weeks of protests, the students on strike blocked off all entrances to the Morningside Heights neighborhood campus on Wednesday morning, calling on the University to meet their demands.
“People get their wires crossed when they say that we already made $45,000 a year, which is not the case. There’s some of us that are on 12 month appointments. Some of us are nine month appointments.
I’m on a nine month appointment and we’d still make 10 to 12,000 below what is considered a living wage in New York.
Another big thing is dental care, vision care. We have health care, but it’s not comprehensive right now, there’s a lot of stories of people, you know, having to pay out of pocket for dental care and vision care which is very expensive.
Columbia has made 3.1 billion this year, their endowment has grown. And I think our asking our total package for the full three years that we’re asking for would be like point 5% any block you walk down here, Columbia owns the apartments most likely and they say they give us subsidized housing.
The subsidized housing that I pay for is still astronomical. It’s almost $2,000 a month. And so they’re saying yes, we get enough stipend, enough wages but 40, 50, 60% depending on what you make goes right back to Columbia if you live in their housing.”
– said one of the demonstrators to a FNTV Journalist.
Student workers are demanding fair pay, access to benefits, and protections in the workplace against harassment and discrimination.
Following a demonstration from students last week, Columbia University sent out an email to student workers on strike to return to work by Friday December 10, 2021 or face permanent replacement.
Video by Karla Cote (FNTV Freedomnews.tv)