The Architecture Lobby Supports Striking Workers at the University of Michigan

In recognition of the labor agitation unfolding on the University of Michigan’s campus, The Architecture Lobby supports the graduate students and graduate student workers with the Graduate Employees Organization (GEO) striking for a safe and healthy workplace. T-A-L also supports the faculty and undergraduate students striking in solidarity. As an international organization of architecture workers fighting and advocating for equitable, fair, and safe working practices, the Lobby stands in solidarity with the crucial struggle for worker’s rights happening at the University of Michigan, including students at the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. We are also in support of the strikes of the RA’s and the “slow-downs” of dining hall workers, who are also fighting for a safe and healthy workplace.

We would like to remind the Chairs of their non-retaliation pledge and ask the Taubman College faculty and staff to cancel classes in support of strikes led by GEO. Solidarity is the only way out of our collective crisis. We further urge the faculty to pressure their fellow professors in other departments to follow suit so students receive swift and effective resolution from the university’s administration.

The Architecture Lobby applauds the hard work of graduate students who have been advocating for A Safe and Just Pandemic Response for All since the beginning of this summer, which the university largely ignored. Since the graduate student employee’s union began their strike, the university has sought court orders to mandate that graduate student instructors (GSI’s) continue working, and have pursued restraining orders and preliminary injunctions against the union. We condemn the unethical, anti-labor tactics of the university administration. These strikes are for a safe and equitable campus in the midst of a global pandemic and severe economic crisis. Such actions taken by a university against its own student laborers are utterly unconscionable, and warrant fierce resistance. It is for this reason that we also urge the university to offer its graduate student workers a universal right to work remotely. We demand the University of Michigan cut their ties with the Ann Arbor Police Department and redirect funding from the Division of Public Safety and Security to nurture and protect their community, instead of threatening them with armed officers on-campus. If Taubman College wants to make good on their promise to advance racial equity as a school, they must advocate strongly for the anti-policing demands brought forward by GEO. We also ask that University of Michigan faculty, especially the Taubman College faculty in the Faculty Senate, consider supporting a vote of no confidence against the administration of University President Mark Schlissel that is jeopardizing the health and safety of students and faculty in pursuit of profit.