Campus News

Syracuse University workers rally for union and fair wages

SU workers rally for union, fair wages

Hundreds gather at the Einhorn Family Walk on Thursday morning in support of unionization and associated benefits.

Caitlin Smith, a PhD candidate in the Falk College at Syracuse University, leads the gathered workers in a rally chant. She yells,
Surya Vaidy
Falk College doctoral student Caitlin Smith leads gathered Syracuse University workers in the rally chant, “A thank you might be well meant, but a thank you doesn’t pay my rent!” on Thursday morning.

Hundreds of Syracuse University employees and members of the community met in front of the steps of the Einhorn Family Walk Thursday morning to rally for “Fair Pay and Unions for All.”

More than 300 people joined the crowd at the United Syracuse rally, representing various jobs across SU’s campus including maintenance, groundskeeping, dining services, library and graduate workers.

“Overworked and underpaid! We deserve a decent raise!” rally participants chanted call-and-response between each speaker. 

Standing on the steps of the promenade near the Hall of Languages, a series of SU employees and community organizers spoke candidly about their reasons for unionizing. 

Many of the rally’s speakers said SU workers deserve fair wages, improved benefits and better working conditions.

Alternative Anne Getz Eidelhoch, a PhD candidate in the Maxwell School, speaks on how important all workers are to the University's function, and that it was time for the school's administration to treat it's workers fairly and compensate them properly. Photo by Surya Vaidy, 3/28/2024.
Surya Vaidy
Anne Getz Eidelhoch, a doctoral student in SU’s Maxwell School, speaks Thursday about how important all workers are to the university’s function.

“The name, the reputation that this school has across the nation is impeccable,” said Vince Cobb, a Newhouse School media technology analyst and engineer. “It is embarrassing that they won’t pay people right and treat people right. That shouldn’t happen ever.”

Citing how his father benefitted from having a union’s support, Cobb emphasized how collective action can result in improved wages and working conditions.

Among those at the rally were union supporters affiliated with Service Employees International Union Local 200 United (SEIU) and members of the American Association of University Professors and Adjuncts United unions. 

Several speakers from SU administrative, food service and library roles discussed their efforts to join SEIU.

In 2023, Syracuse Graduate Employees United, consisting of more than 1,000 graduate student workers, voted to form a union with SEIU. Earlier this week, they ratified their contract with SU after extensive negotiations.

Alternative Text
Surya Vaidy
Rally attendees hold up signs calling out SU’s treatment of workers on Thursday.