For Ajmal Alami, it’s more important “to have workers win a $15 minimum wage than it is to, maybe, change the name of a building to someone else’s name.”
“Not that those aren’t campaigns worth going for,” said Mr. Alami, the campus coordinator for the Young Democratic Socialists at Virginia Tech, “but there are bigger fish to fry.”
On the campus, in Blacksburg, Va., Mr. Alami said, the newly formed socialist group is trying to help graduate students organize around Virginia’s right-to-work laws, and it’s hoping to help dining-hall workers navigate the same anti-union rules. Elaina Colussi, who organizes the University of Oregon’s Young Democratic Socialist chapter in Eugene, is also looking inside its cafeteria for causes.
“Our student campus workers that work in the dining halls and stuff just got their free shift meals taken away, and now they have to pay, like, $3 a meal, which is ridiculous,” Ms. Colussi said, referring to a policy change that went into effect last fall.