Sundiata Cha-Jua

chajua_sundiataSUNDIATA CHA-JUA
Associate Professor, History and African American Studies

I support collective bargaining for three reasons. First, it is the only process by which working people, whether physical or mental laborers, have been able to receive a reasonable portion of what they deserve. Second, historically the best years for African Americans in this country came directly after their incorporation into industrial unions during the 1940s. Unionization strengthened Black civil society and laid the basis for the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, which produced a moment, however brief, in which African Americans made their greatest gains in wealth, life expectancy, educational achievement, housing ownership, and other areas. Third, we have witnessed the university administration perfectly follow the contemporary corporate playbook. The university and campus administrations have systematically negated or eliminated our traditional rights and have imposed what labor scholars call a “speed up,” shrinking the ranks of faculty and staff, increasing class sizes, imposing on faculty tasks that were previously done by staff, eroding faculty governance, undercutting academic freedom, and boldly retreating from racial justice―domestic racial diversity in employment and student admissions. We need to unionize to halt, if not reverse, the rapid evisceration of our human rights.