Student Labor Action Coalition

Older History

From an account of the early SLAC history from an old AFL-CIO student organizing handbook:

"In February 1994, undergraduates in a sociology course at the University of Wisconsin-Madison saw the video "Deadly Corn" in their class and were angered by what they learned. The video documented the lockout of more than 700 workers at A.E. Staley, a sweetener company in Decatur, Ill., and the workers' struggle there for safe, decent jobs. By writing a group research paper on the struggle, these students became aware of the problems that face workers."

"Along with some dedicated members of the Teaching Assistants Association (TAA), the Staley Solidarity Action Coalition met weekly to discuss the situation at Staley and planned a trip to Decatur to support the locked-out workers. On that trip, the students walked their first picket line. The trip to Decatur took Madison undergraduates from the campus to the "front lines" of the war on American workers."

"After a semester of successful work for the Staley struggle, the group changed its name to the Student Labor Action Coalition (SLAC), ready to help worker struggles anywhere, not just in Illinois. In October 1994, students from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor got interested in the Staley lock-out and met with Madison SLACers at a rally in Decatur. Motivated by Madison SLAC, students returned to ANN Arbor ready to do their own labor support work. The Michigan SLAC hosted a very successful young labor activists conference in spring 1995. It was there that Madison and Ann Arbor SLACers realized their story was getting out. Student activists from eight different campuses came to the event and planned nationwide coordinated actions. SLAC groups now exist on campuses across the Midwest and the Northeast."