Recorded September 12, 2015. Over the past twenty years, the student-led organization United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) has run dozens of strategic student-labor solidarity campaigns with the goal of building sustainable power for working people. With some 150 campus “locals” in the United States, more in Canada, and a formal partnership with the AFL-CIO, USAS represents a genuine, grass-roots labor youth movement.
As current, former, and future workers, USAS organizes around the principle that universities must respect all workers throughout their campus and within their supply chains. In past years, members of USAS at the University of Illinois – Chicago (UIC) have led students onto critical faculty strikes on their campus, successfully cut the university’s apparel contract with VF Corporation in solidarity with Bangladeshi garment workers, and are currently mobilizing on the offensive for a $15 wage for all campus workers.
Martin Macias, community activist and journalist, interviews Kiera Bouton and Jeff Uehlinger, members of USAS local 15 at the University of Illinois – Chicago. Bouton and Uehlinger discuss the international campaign to End Deathtraps and their personal experiences fighting the corporatization of higher education. They also share their views on the role of students in the labor movement and the need of incorporating collective liberation.
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