We invite you to sign the open letter below urging the Biden administration to prioritize the needs of working people and communities of color. This letter was launched by our colleagues at the University of California system, UAW Local 2865, and is being endorsed by other union locals and signed by UAW members in higher ed across the country. Our voices are louder together, and we hope you will sign on to amplify these demands.
Workers in higher education are calling on the Biden administration and the US Congress to address the crises facing working people everywhere, particularly communities of color: the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects, racialized oppression and inequality, climate devastation, unequal healthcare access, and an economic system that privileges the rich and powerful over the rest of us. We call on the Biden administration to reverse these effects that Trump administration policies have had on each of these areas. We call on our government to restructure higher education to support students and workers, not the corporate interests that prey on them. The Biden administration can and must take action now to ensure that working people get the resources we need.
- Cancel student debt and increase public funding for higher education and research. Create a five-year plan to replace tuition financing with tax revenues and increase funding to K-12 schools through progressive taxation. In the immediate-term, increase research funding, provide additional stimulus support for universities, and cancel student debt through the Higher Education Act.
- Protect and expand workers’ rights. A) Appoint a National Labor Relations Board that protects higher ed workers’ rights to unionize; B) Reverse the negative impacts on workers’ rights propagated by the Trump administration; C) increase the federal minimum wage for federal workers; D) support the PRO Act to equalize power in the workplace between workers and employers; E) close gender and racial pay gaps, including by instituting increased paid family leave and universal childcare for federal employees.
- Reform immigration policy so that higher education workers on visas are not subject to xenophobic whim. Immediately A) reverse all travel bans; B) expand the duration of F-1 and J-1 visas; C) extend Optional Practical Training (OPT) and access to Green Cards and other immigration programs; D) protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA); E) streamline visa application processes, and E) roll back the authority of enforcement and detention centers.
- Roll back the Trump administration’s Title IX regulations. Promulgate a survivor-centered culture and policy for addressing sexual harassment and violence.
- Create affordable housing. A) institute immediate national moratoria on rent and evictions through the pandemic; B) expand subsidies to municipalities to build and increase access to safe, accessible and affordable housing; and C) expand progressive tax credits for renters.
- Work to end violence against communities of color. The Biden administration must end the failed and racist War on Drugs and criminalization of black and brown communities through mass incarceration by A) redirecting resources to diversion programs and social service providers rather than police; B) support the BREATHE Act to improve oversight and training of officers, and C) ending policing of students and workers in schools.
- Address the climate crisis: A) declare the climate crisis a national emergency; B) reverse the Trump Administrations’ decimation of the EPA; B) appoint climate science experts from leading research institutions to federal environmental agencies; and C) commit to a Green New Deal to prevent the devastation of our planet and create union jobs.
- Expand healthcare for all. Commit to policy that addresses the COVID-19 pandemic, providing free healthcare to everyone, and immediately enable single-payer programs at the state level through the current Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Add your name to tell the Biden administration academic workers want a government that reverses the harmful effects of the Trump administration by supporting working people and communities of color.