The William & Mary Workers’ Union, the newest chapter of UE Local 160, has been organizing workers at the College of William & Mary, a public research university in Williamsburg, Virginia, since 2019. Like their counterparts in North Carolina and West Virginia, public workers in Virginia do not have the right to collective bargaining. Since going public in November, the union has made significant progress in growing and making their demands heard on campus.
The chapter now has graduate-worker members in all but one graduate department, and is continuing to expand its membership among facilities and maintenance workers. The union’s platform has been endorsed by Student Assembly and Graduate Student Assembly, two of the most important representative bodies on campus for students.
Since COVID-19 hit, the union has successfully pressured the university to provide PPE to campus workers, to answer some of its members’ most pressing questions, and to issue a statement of support for W&M staff and students of Asian descent, who are facing increased racism and discrimination. UE members continue to demand hazard pay and paid time off for all workers who are still on campus.