What is a sit in? A sit in is a peaceful method of bringing attention to issues of social justice. Workers and advocates have been holding sit-ins or sit downs for nearly a century. To be clear, this is not a strike, and no one is asked to stop work to attend this event. The purpose is to bring the public’s attention to the conditions in which we are working.
Why are we holding a sit in? Negotiations with the University of Connecticut have been slow for a long time, despite consistent action on our parts to stress the importance of our concerns.
We have been holding actions since 70% of us signed cards a year ago expressing support for the union and the desire to see a better UConn. Since then, we have held majority petitions, spoken at Board of Trustees meetings, rallies, and in November, a majority of us voted to give the bargaining committee authority to invoke arbitration if necessary. Each time, the University has made incremental improvements, but we are still very far apart from what we deem is acceptable. The sit in will bring to the world’s attention the deterioration of conditions which the University has allowed to happen over the years.
This lack of recognition of our concerns on the part of the University is why GAs are preparing for this action if we do not have a fair agreement.
Why Now? There needs to be enough time for the Union membership to vote to ratify (accept) the contract, the Board of Trustees to vote to approve the contract, and then must be presented to the state legislature no later than May 1st to take effect in time. To do all of the above, the contract realistically needs to be completed now. This sit-in deadline is to bring attention to the issues we hold, but also to impress upon the administration the time necessary to have the contract take effect the next academic year.
Will there be press? A number of reporters have been following our contract campaign, so it is quite possible some of them will come.
Can I get in trouble for participating? We have the right to engage in collective action such as this as long as we do not disrupt university operations, just as we did earlier this semester in our work-in actions.
How long would I have to stay at the sit in? Our goals is to stay as long as possible.