Letter to the Editor

Timothy Garrison

I am a senior in English, graduating in a few weeks, after which I will begin as a graduate student. I am also a Teamster, Local 743. In the past few weeks, some students have formed an organization called NEIU SOL (Students On Labor). We are organizing to support the Union. 


On April 11th our Student Government Association sent us a letter that, in my opinion, did not go far enough in support of our NEIU staff and faculty, who have been made to languish during the pandemic and the financial crisis without a fair contract. 


My concern upon reading SGA’s statement was this: it lacks clarity about the power dynamic at play. They say they call on the Administration and the Union to take action. I want that, too. But as students of Northeastern Illinois University, we would be remiss to ignore the significant power dynamics of the well-paid administrators, who have undervalued the under-paid staff at our school for far too long. 


The SGA’s petition suggests the union and the administration should negotiate, and they absolutely should. But a statement that stops there reveals a lack of awareness about the repeated attempts the Union has made towards negotiations. The burden here and now is on this failed administration to do what they ought to have already done. 


I shared these thoughts with SGA and they never replied to me. I attended the Board of Trustees meeting on April 13th, alongside many NEIU SOL members and NEIU UPI members. I had signed up to give a public comment, but I was number 26 on the list, and they accepted only 10 speakers. Our staff and faculty in NEIU UPI are dedicated to going above and beyond for us students, and we ought to support them in their struggle. Many of the speakers spoke in support of NEIU UPI. 


In a university, working conditions are learning conditions. When the workers here are not supported and valued, our education is not supported and valued. I stand unquestioningly on the side of workers. Any statement lacking this clarity doesn’t represent my views. 


Instead of the weak sauce offered by the SGA, I would like to offer a much shorter statement that people can sign:





Timothy Garrison