Student Labor Action Coalition

About Us

After the storm SLAC and allies after a balloon popping action on March 1, 2006.

Mission Statement

It's time to take our country back from the rich, the corporations, and corrupt politicians by building a mass movement for progressive social change. To succeed and be truly democratic, our movement needs the active participation of the largest number of people possible. The overwhelming majority of Americans are just regular working people and the Labor Movement represents the single largest organized block of working people in the country. Building Unions and the Labor Movement is critical to building the power of the working majority.

People of color and women now make up a majority of American workers. The Labor Movement needs to represent that diversity in both membership, leadership and program. White supremacy and male supremacy have divided working people for too long. We must fight against racism and sexism in all its forms in our Unions and other organizations, in our workplaces and on campus. Uniting the working majority and creating real change is only possible if these social ills are eradicated.

Around the world, working people face the same enemy -- global corporate domination which puts profits before people and is causing worldwide environmental devastation. American workers have a common interest with workers worldwide in beating back the corporate attack. Here in the US, the 'belly of the beast', we have the unique opportunity to not only support workers fighting for change in their own countries but also struggle against our nation's actions that hurt worker's interests abroad. Working people make up the global majority and united have the power to wrest control of the planet back before the evil, greedy ones completely destroy it.

In recent years, parts of the Labor Movement have experienced a revival. Unions are once again reaching out to unorganized workers and getting more involved in battles for social justice. Students can play a significant role in helping to rebuild a fighting Labor Movement. The Student Labor Action Coalition (SLAC) is a coalition of students, workers, and labor activists dedicated to:

  • Educating students and the community about Unions and worker's struggles for social justice.
  • Organizing students to engage in labor solidarity activities locally and worldwide.
  • Building active coalition work with Unions and other community activists.
  • Training students to be activists and organizers in the labor movement.
  • Actively supporting the struggle for social justice for all.

SLAC meets weekly to discuss these kinds of issues, develop strategies and organize events. All meetings are open to everyone interested in learning more and getting involved. No previous experience or knowledge is required. SLAC is a completely volunteer run organization with no dues or other membership requirements.

If you support social and economic justice on campus and in the community, consider joining SLAC. This year, we will be involved in a variety of activities and campaigns so there are plenty of ways to help out. You can learn new skills, meet a wide range of interesting, like-minded folks, and make a real difference in people's lives.

Why Should You Care About Unions?

You're young, talented, and on your way to completing a degree at one of the premiere Universities in the nation. After you graduate, you'll get a good job, have a little money in your pocket, and wile away the days in middle class comfort. Your skills and education are all you need to succeed in today's tough global marketplace and you're confident that you'll come out on top. So, why are Unions important to you?

It's hard for many students, especially those expecting professional careers, to see how Unions might benefit them. But even those who'll never need a Union to protect their rights as workers still benefit from a strong and vibrant Labor Movement. And, as the economy changes and upward mobility becomes more difficult, many of today's students may find themselves in lower wage occupations that are traditional Union jobs. While most students can look forward to a bright, comfortable future, there are others who will need the collective strength and power of a Union to guarantee a decent standard of living.

Unbeknownst to them, many students destined for "professional" careers will end up in Union jobs. For example, large numbers of teachers, nurses, therapists, and other healthcare workers are already members of Unions across the country. In fact, healthcare is one of the areas where Unions are growing most quickly. Some Unions even have locals of doctors and lawyers who've banded together to defend their interests. So, almost anyone entering today's global economy can benefit from knowing what a Union is and when they should organize one for themselves!

But even if you never need a Union for yourself (or your spouse, family, or friends), you still have an interest in a strong Labor Movement. In many ways, the Labor Movement is responsible for much of the social legislation we take for granted. The eight hour day, the weekend, and Social Security are just a few examples of the victories that earlier generations of Union workers have won for all Americans. In fact, during the last twenty years, while the percentage of workers in Unions has been declining, real wages have fallen, people are working longer hours, and the gap between the rich and the poor has widened dramatically. While a strong Labor Movement isn't the solution to all society's problems, the demands and victories of working people benefit everyone.

But Unions are about much more than just better pay and working conditions. As the single largest organized group of working people in the country, the nationwide Labor Movement has incredible power to influence the larger social fabric. Union support of the civil rights movement was critical in helping smash segregation and other legalized forms of discrimination. Unions have long championed equal pay for women doing equal work and opposed sex discrimination in the workplace and beyond. Nowadays, it seems like Unions are the only force willing or able to take on the giant corporations that are tightening their stranglehold our nations' economy and culture!

Unions continue to play a vital role in the lives of millions of working people across the nation and around the world. Their demands and struggles not only benefit their members but also help improves the lives of countless others. As a power social actor, Unions have the potential to not only change the lives of their members but also change our entire society.

You can be a part of that action. You can help working people to get the power and respect they deserve. You can help change their lives and the world. Join the Student Labor Action Coalition and get involved in today's resurgent Labor Movement.

What Do Unions Do?

The media and conservative politicians like to portray Unions as corrupt, irrelevant relics of a by-gone era. Yet, millions of workers across the country are active in Unions and every year thousands more overcome tremendous obstacles to form new ones. Are these people crazy, stupid, or under the spell of evil forces? Of course not. These workers know, even if the general public doesn't, that Unions play a vital role in their lives and workplaces. So, what do Unions do anyway?

Most people know Unions mean better wages and benefits. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics clearly shows that Unionized workers earn higher average wages than non-Union workers in the same industry. Also, Union jobs are more likely to include benefits such as health insurance and a pension. Through collective bargaining, workers in a Union are able to negotiate for better wages and benefits with one voice from a position of strength. In non-Union workplaces, each individual employee must suck up to the boss in hopes of getting a tiny scrap more than the next poor schmuck.

Unions help ensure that workers are treated fairly and equally. In Union workplaces, there is an established, agreed upon grievance procedure for resolving workplace problems. If an employer wants to discipline a worker, they have to follow the process and prove their case. If a worker has a grievance against an employer, they can get their complaints heard and force the boss to change. In non-Union workplaces, you are at the mercy and whim of the bosses. If they just don't like you or if they are having a bad morning, they can mistreat, abuse or fire you and there ain't much you can do about it!

Unions also give workers a voice in workplace decisions that affect their lives. Through negotiating a contract with their employer, workers have the opportunity to shape workplace policies on a wide range of issues like hours and working conditions. In addition, the grievance procedure provides a voice for workers in policy decisions made between contract negotiations. In most non-Union shops, the boss makes the rules and workers don't have any say at all. If you don't like it, too bad!

And if all that wasn't enough, Unions give working people a real sense of their own power. In a world that says you have to be rich, young, beautiful, and over-educated to ever amount to anything, Unions give regular working people respect and a means of making a real difference. Together in a Union, working people can not only change their workplaces but also their entire lives.

You can be a part of that action. You can help working people to get the power and respect they deserve. You can help change their lives and the world. Join the Student Labor Action Coalition and get involved in today's resurgent Labor Movement.