UMass Union Calls On President Biden To Cancel All Student Debt


Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Source: GEO-UAW 2322

The labor union GEO-UAW 2322, which represents close to 2,500 graduate employees at UMass Amherst, voted unanimously  at their May 5 general membership meeting to support a resolution calling on President Biden to issue an executive order immediately canceling all student debt.  Stating that education is a right that should be accessible to all, not a commodity that should anchor families in debt for generations, the resolution called on Massachusetts elected officials to urge Biden to pick up his pen and use the compromise and settlement powers of the Higher Education Act of 1965 to bring much needed economic relief to 44 million Americans. 

“Our members are dealing with skyrocketing costs of living at the same time that our employer is suggesting cuts to our wages in contract negotiations. This makes the impact of student debt that much more detrimental to our members’ financial, mental, and physical health,” said Bilgesu Sumer, co-chair of GEO-UAW 2322.

“Student debt cancellation is an economic justice issue, a racial justice issue, and a gender equity issue,” said Ian Rhodewalt, who introduced the resolution. “Two-thirds of total student debt is held by women, and Black women owe on average 22% more than their white peers.”  

Along with the Western Massachusetts congressional delegation, GEO-UAW 2322 called on Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey to join the fight to cancel student debt.  Eight other state attorneys general,  from New York, Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Puerto Rico, and Washington, wrote a letter this week to President Biden calling for the cancelation of all federal student debt for each and every borrower.  GEO-UAW 2322 called for both the International UAW as well as state and national offices of the AFL-CIO to pressure President Biden to immediately cancel all student debt.

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