Buffalo, NY, United States
Monday Actions Meetings at 5 in GSEU Office, 200A Commons

Thursday, November 19, 2009


On Thursday November 12th on UB’s South Campus UBSAS hosted a forum on Public Education in the face of budget cuts and legislation like New York State Assembly-Senate Bill 2020 part of University President Simpson’s UB 2020 vision. Participants included representatives from United University Professions (UUP), the Graduate Student Employees Union (GSEU) CWA1104, Buffalo Class Action, and students from African and African American studies, and Global Gender Studies. There were about thirty participants and lively discussion about how we can stop the University from using the budget cuts as an excuse to abuse students and workers through privatization, the destruction of marginalized departments, and the dismantling of any democratic structures that may exist in the University. Privatization means taking away any idea that UB may be a institute of higher learning and not simply a money making venture; only departments that could make the University money would be kept, many workers on campus would become contracted out loosing the protections of being in a union, and tuition would inevitably rise without corresponding raises in financial aid squeezing out working class students. Some of these are part of the proposals in the Assembly-Senate Bill 2020, but whether or not this bill passes the University will use the excuse of budget cuts to destroy the democracy and mission of the University. We are seeing this across the country as Universities willy-nilly cut worker’s salaries and benefits, raise tuition, cut departments, but continue to pay exorbitant salaries to administrators, and break ground on new building projects. Participants left the forum hoping to form a coalition to tackle the corporatization of our University (which in the direction it is heading will no longer even remotely be our University). If you are interested in more information or in getting involved please contact us at .

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

UB Classist? UB Sexist? UB Racist? UB 2020???

between this blog, the statement issued by the UUP, and in our own research, UB Students Against Sweatshops have found many faults in the legislation that we feel will be very harmful to working class students and the Buffalo Community (which as we all must know by now, Buffalo has been in the top 3 poorest major cities in America the past few years). our three main areas of concern are:

UB having the power to raise tuition without going through Albany
UB having the power to buy & sell property without going through Albany
UB being able to privatize key funtions of the university.

Which has led us to this official announcement:

Let’s Make Sure UB2020
Works for New York

At a time when working families are struggling to pay the bills, UB administration wants the power to Raise Tuition without approval from New York State. Our economy is in shambles due to deregulation and corporate greed, and they want to privatize key university functions and control UB property with no oversight…while threatening to wipe out progressive programs like Global Gender Studies and African American Studies. Let’s make sure we keep the goals of our university in mind as we bring UB into the future. The people of New York have a right to public education!

Open Discussion on Public Education
Thursday, November 12, 5PM
Kimball 111, UB South Campus

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Victory Party!

come out- we want to work on a SUNY-wide DSP, on tuition issues, and let you know how UB cutting out contract with Russel in June affects workers in Chiloma, Honduras.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

UB signs onto the Designated Supplier Program and chooses not to renew contract with Russell

Hello everyone,

Just an update on the Designated Supplier Program. The University has agreed to join the DSP working group, which will ensure that all apparel bearing the UB logo will be produced in factories where workers rights are respected, in respect to wages, working conditions and the right to organize. UB will be joining over 45 other universities in committing to the rights of workers.

UB has also agreed not to renew their contract with Russell Athletics when it expires in June, a company that produces UB apparel. Russell had a union busting campaign in a factory in Honduras, Jerzees de Honduras, that ended in them closing the factory. Two independent monitoring agencies; the Workers' Rights Consortium and the Fair Labor Association determined that the factory was closed because of union activity. UB joins 23 other Universities in cutting their contract with Russell Athletics.


The University will be releasing an official public statement within the week.
so until then we can celebrate- but not too loudly, haha!

<3 ubsas

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Joanna Boron (716)903-7532
Kate Riehlman (315)382-6674

10,000 Take Part in Coast-to-Coast Protests at Major U.S. Banks Today Show Public Anger Over Bonuses, CEO, Corporate Excess; Call on Congress To Act on Employee Free Choice,Health Care, Banking Reform

Buffalo Residents, UB Students Demonstrate at Bank of America in Tonawanda as Part of 100 Actions Spanning 35 States

Buffalo, NY– In approximately 100 actions in 35 states today, some 10,000 Americans in communities large and small, urban and rural, took to the streets outside the offices and branches of major U.S. banks to demonstrate the growing public frustration with an economy weakened by years of corporate excess at the expense of broader prosperity.

Here in Western New York, working families and students demonstrated at Bank of America in Tonawanda (1188 Niagara Falls Blvd.) with signs that had a message aimed at the U.S. Congress: “It’s Time for an Economy that Works for Everyone.”

“Bank of America’s behavior both before and since the taxpayer bailout makes it a prime example of the kind of corporate excess that’s draining so much out of our families, our communities, and our economy,” said Joanna Boron, member of UB Students Against Sweatshops. “Top executives in these banks won’t rebuild our economy so it works for all of us. Congress needs to step in and do that through employee free choice, health care for all, and strong banking reform.”

Over the last two years, Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis has received $34.8 million in compensation, while the median wage for a teller at Bank of America hovers around the federal poverty line. Despite receiving $45 billion in federal taxpayer bailout funds since last fall, Bank of America has announced plans to lay off 30,000 to 35,000 workers, awarded $5.2 million in corporate bonuses (including Bank of America-owned Merrill Lynch), maintains a fleet of aircraft worth $360-$400 million, and continues to charge consumers some of the highest service fees in the industry. The bank also continues to make taxpayers pick up the tab for about $50 million a year in employee health care costs because many Bank of America workers cannot afford the company’s health insurance and must rely on public healthcare programs.

While taking billions from taxpayers, Bank of America lobbied last year against bills like the Credit Cardholders Bill of Rights and the Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008  and plays a leadership role on the Financial Services Roundtable, a financial industry group that lobbied against the Employee Free Choice Act in every quarter of 2008. The measure would make it easier for workers to bargain with employers for better wages, benefits, and working conditions by ensuring they can exercise a free choice to join together in a union without management interference or intimidation.

“Americans have had enough of an era of unchecked corporate excess,” said Andy Stern, president of the 2-million member SEIU, the Service Employees International Union. “Congress needs to fix the underlying problems by ensuring workers can have a voice, health care, and a financial system that works for people, not lavish corporate lifestyles.”

The nationwide protests challenge Congress to take immediate steps to rebuild an economy that works for everyone by passing:
•The Employee Free Choice Act so workers have the freedom to form unions for a voice to share in the economic progress they help create.
•Affordable, quality health care for all where everyone, including big corporations, does their share and Americans no longer have to go without quality health care or face health costs that sink a family’s budget.
•Strong banking reform to make sure the financial services industry can never again bring our economy down by prioritizing huge profits and executive pay over responsible lending, or by preying on consumers, gambling with families’ hard-earned money, and hiding their dealings.
For more information on actions happening across the country, please visit


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Employee Free Choice Day of Action!

While most people in America today are making hard choices and sacrifices, big banks and corporate executives collect government bailouts and continue their lavish pay and lifestyles that drain families’ finances and sap our overall economy.

On March 19, 2009, thousands of people in cities nationwide will hold demonstrations at the offices of major banks to call on Congress to enact the real change that’s needed to end an era of corporate excess and rebuild an economy that works for everyone including freedom for workers to form unions and health care for all.

Join the Buffalo, NY Action Against Corporate Excess!

Thursday, March 19th, 3:30PM

Bank of America
1188 Niagara Falls Blvd.
Tonawanda, NY

*Action sponsors include:
UB Students Against Sweatshops & Coalition For Economic Justice

*If you need a ride, we'll have a few cars doing shuttles- also if have a car and plan on driving, and wouldn't mind providing a ride to a fellow activist or two, let us know!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

UBSAS Activist Training!

here's the second one this year. Like everyone knows we're shooting for one a semester- so come out and let's learn from each other and let's build some student power on this campus! The only way we'll win is by supporting one another's issues, by being knowledgeable, and staying undivided against adversity.

so between this, and the party (personal relationships build movements), Buffalo Student Grassroots Activists should have a pretty big base for change! ;)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Press Release from the Clothesline we put up today

Subject: Press Release – Students Raise Awareness at University at Buffalo to Defend Worker Rights

PRESS RELEASE FOR: Wednesday, February 18, 2009

CONTACT: Joanna Boron: (716) 903-7532;

Rachel Goebel: (845) 728-4160

Wednesday: Students Raise Awareness at UB to Defend Worker Rights in Honduras

Call On University to Cut Ties with Russell Athletic Company

Accused of Severe Worker Rights Abuses; Universities of Miami, Houston, Georgetown, Rutgers, Wisconsin, Duke and Washington Have Severed Ties Already; More Colleges to Follow Suit

Buffalo, NY – University at Buffalo students will hang an Informational Clothesline display, rising awareness of this issue and UB’s involvement and calling on the school to cut ties with the apparel manufacturer that owns the Honduras factory which the students and workers say committed a series of labor rights violations.

The workers were fired from the factory, Jerzees de Honduras, after attempting to form a union; Russell later closed the factory altogether. The factory is owned by the Russell Corporation, a major licensee producing Minnesota logo apparel. The students are part of the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group, an affiliate of the nationwide United Students Against Sweatshops.

Seven major licensing schools including the University of Miami, University of Houston, Georgetown University, Rutgers University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Duke University and the University of Washington, have all already terminated their apparel contract with Russell over the violations, and other colleges are considering similar moves.

Russell Corporation violated worker rights by firing over 140 workers for organizing a union, making statements that attributed the plant’s closure to unionization, and the closure decision itself, which was found to be driven by anti-union retaliation.

Closing a factory due, partially or wholly, to the formation of a union is a violation of the University at Buffalo’s codes of conduct for apparel production.

In response to these violations, a number of U.S. labor rights advocacy organizations have filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, an agency of the Organization of Americas States (OAS), to take proactive measures to assure these worker leaders’ safety.

WHO: University at Buffalo Students Against Sweatshops

WHAT: Clothesline Against Labor Rights Violations, National Week of Action

(definite photo opportunity)

WHEN: Wednesday, February 18, 2009 at noon

WHERE: UB North Campus Student Union; Lee Loop Entrance

Monday, February 16, 2009


So, Joanna's turning 22 and thinks it's rly important to celebrate accordingly. With a party supporting our extremely labor friendly president. It's gonna be at her and k8's apt on February 28 at 8 or 9. we're gonna take some video footage for SEIU's (a really awesome union) website- with the vids from tons of other similair parties.

I'll have a real flyer soon but until then check the fb event!

Tonight's Anti-Opression meeting reading

The Economy: A Values Issue
Lawrence Mishel

The discussion of the 2004 presidential election is just the most recent reminder of a curiosity in American politics: "values" issues are always social issues but never economic ones. Yet how the disadvantaged among us are treated is clearly a reflection of who we are as a people. How workers are treated on the job—their safety, their working conditions, their remuneration—also speaks volumes about our values as a nation. How we care for the elderly and the disabled, our response to child poverty, and our compassion for the less fortunate are measures of our society's values, and they are social problems that can be addressed by economic policy.

Of course, economists contend that economics is a science. "Tell me what you want to do and I will tell you the best way to do it" is the economist's usual stance. (Or, as one economist remarked, his role is to say, "Tell me what you want and I'll tell you why you can't have it.") Clearly, this framework leaves no room for values. The underlying assumption is that unfettered markets, free and unrestricted by government or private institutions such as unions, produce the best outcomes, except in a few very specific situations: externalities (such as pollution imposed on society but not reflected in producers' costs), monopolies, and other "market failure" cases from Econ 101.Some economists, such as Martin Feldstein (leader of the premier economic research organization, the National Bureau of Economic Research) have contended that inequality is not a proper concern for economists, who should be focused only on determining how to maximize the output of goods and services.

It is important to examine whether unfettered markets are the appropriate means of organizing our economy, both in terms of the values we seek to see reflected in our society and for achieving our economic goals. One's view of the proper role of individuals, institutions, and government in the economy is determined, in large part, by one's assessment of the merits of unfettered markets. The U.S. economic policy debate is in fact dominated by the assumption that unfettered markets work best, a view that's applied to our domestic economy and to that of other countries through international financial institutions that the United States controls.

Yet there is plenty of room for applying values to the economy: an economy can be structured in many different ways and still achieve the same amount of efficiency, i.e., produce the same outputs with the same inputs. This was the conclusion of a book that Rebecca Blank edited for the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) a decade ago. Major European countries, for example, have a set of policies that are far different from ours: a strong social insurance system, government provision of health care, higher taxes, and far less inequality. Yet these countries have seen faster productivity growth—the gain in economic efficiency—than the United States for most of the last four decades. At first, this trend was mainly a process of "catching up" to the United States, the technological leader. However, many of these countries have now surpassed the United States in productivity.

It seems impolite in America to mention this, but we live in a class society. There are various groups differentiated by their income and power, and the positions of these groups are strongly maintained over time. It's not that there isn't any upward and downward mobility; it's just that there's not enough of it to make having a favorable, or unfavorable, class position seem like a temporary arrangement.

There has been a dramatic upward shift in income over the last few decades, coupled with a growing gap between those at the very top and those at the bottom of the income scale. In fact, inequality has grown far more in the United States over the last three decades than at any time in the last century, and far more than in any other advanced country.

Using some data from NBER researchers Thomas Pikkety and Emanuel Saez, it is possible to illustrate how large both the income redistribution and the scale of inequality in America have become:

  • The top 1% of families earned 9.3% of all income in 1980. By 2000, this income share had increased to 19.6%. Correspondingly, the income share of the bottom 90% declined from 66% to 53.9%. There were small gains (1.9 percentage points) in the income shares of the remaining group, the 90th to 99th percentiles.
  • From 1980 to 2000, the incomes of the upper 1% increased 179%, while those of the bottom 90% increased by only 8%.
  • In 1970, the ratio of top executive earnings to that of the average worker was 38.6 to 1. This ratio increased to 101.1 by 1980, to 222 by 1990, and to 1,046 in 1999.
Because of this inequality, low-income families in the United States are not better off than low-income families in some countries that have lower incomes than in the United States. And even though we think of ourselves as a mobile society compared with Europe, recent research indicates that the United States has less class mobility than previously believed, and less than in European countries. It is also the case that class mobility has not increased over the last few decades.

Even if income were distributed according to merit or to the value of one's skills, we would still need to care for society's most disadvantaged and guarantee them a decent standard of living. Moreover, children do not start off with the same amount of resources—monetary assets, or family "social capital"—and a child's economic outcome depends at least as much on background as on effort or character.

The social class you belong to really matters—it determines your health, how long you live, where you live, your exposure to crime, your success in school, and the likely success of your children. A task force of the American Political Science Association has recently concluded that inequality in income and resources translates into inequalities in participation and effectiveness in our democracy.

This inequality and how it is addressed in the United States is a clear example of the intersection of economics and values issues. Economic policy is just as much of a "values issue" as any of those that are more frequently discussed. Moreover, the teachings of the various faiths have much to say on economic matters. I daresay that there's no reason to believe that "free markets" provide us with the type of society our faiths guide us to have in terms of the lives of the poor, the treatment of workers, and the solidarity of our communities.

This essay appeared in different form as "Dismal Scientists" in The American Prospect Online, May 27, 2004. The article draws on Is the Market Moral? by Rebecca Blank and William McGurn, published by the Brookings Institution and the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. For additional information on the link between values and the economy, see Viewpoints on to read a speech by Lawrence Mishel entitled Unfettered markets, income inequality, and religious values given at the Pew/Brookings Institution Forum on Religion and Public Life on May 19, 2004.

Monday, February 2, 2009




February 2nd --At The River I Stand-A short documentary depicting Martin Luther King Jr.'s final campaignfor civil rights- the two months leading to Dr. King's death in 1968,coinciding with the 65-day strike of 1300 Memphis sanitation workers-where Dr. King tackled not only the injustices of race oppression,but also the injustices of socioeconomic class division.

February 2, March 16, April 6
6:30 PM
330 Student Union

Wednesday, January 14, 2009



This is not a UBSAS event, but it is a rally organized by some of our allies so if you are interested in the cause you should show up, Friday January 16th at 4pm 130 S. Elmwood in Buffalo.

USAS International 2009 Winter Conference

National United Students Against Sweatshops will be having thier annual winter conference in LA this year. It's going to be on Feb 6-8 in LA at the University of Southern California.There are travel scholarships available from USAS and we're going to be fund raising as a group to fill in what USAS can't. BUT you have to help us fundraise if you want to use UBSAS funds so contact us and/or come to a meeting. There is a $30 sliding scale registration fee.These conferences are a great space to better your skills as an organizer as well as meet great, like minded people from all over. There are skill building workshops, anti-oppression workshops, political education, and movement building workshops.

register here if there is even the slightest chance that you'll go:


We are still working on our campaign to get the University at Buffalo to sign on to the Designated Suppliers' Program (DSP). The Sweatfree Advisory Committee, an advisory board at UB made of students, faculty, and administrators, decided at the end of the semestre to recommend that President Simpson adopt the DSP.

This semestre we will continue having Action Meetings every Monday night at 5pm in the Capen Cafe, under the stairs on the ground floor of Capen Hall. The General Interest Meeting will be Monday January 23rd, so mark your calenders! Every first Monday of the month, starting February 2nd we will be having a film screening at 5:15 location and movies TBA (so keep checking). The third Monday of every month we will be having a discussion on various anti-oppresion issues. And at the other meetings we will be doing loads of interesting things, preparing for actions, events, meetings, etc.

We are tentatively having a bake sale in the Student Union the week of February the 9th (Valentines' Day week), we are also tentatively having another Activist Training the weekend of February 20th. And as we continue to pressure the administration to respect workers' rights and adopt the DSP we will have a lot more events coming up so keep checking out this page!