Workshops focus on union history and student voices

By Theresa Genthe

Union-busting, wasteful school spending and Governor Chris Christie’s policies were just a few of the topics that were addressed during the “Teach-In, Fighting Back: Organizing Against Budget Cuts In New Jersey” on Wednesday April 21.

Trina Scordo, a senior organizer with labor union coalition Change to Win Labor Federation, led one of the three workshop sessions and six different programs throughout the day in the Social Science Building Atrium. The sessions provided an outlet for students, teachers and alumni to voice their opinions about the budget problems in New Jersey.

The conversation opened to topics ranging from the history of unions and student protests and the decline of the student voice.

The theme and constant question of Scordo’s program was “is it just?” During the session, attendees participated in discussions of a wide variety that included union busting and foreign models for the United States to learn from.

Some students discussed the idea of disempowerment. One example provided was when writing a letter about a professor who does not do an adequate job doesn’t accomplish anything.

The major theme of open discussion centered around two different words: reform and revolution. Discussions went so far as to say that reform is socialism and revolution is communism. America is in a position where they must look to foreign models to change their ways.

Nagesh Rao, assistant professor of English, held another session, “Understanding the Decline, Turning the Tide.” Regarding the media’s coverage, Rao said, “You can’t take a snapshot of how things are today without looking at where things are and how they got there.”

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