SWS was formed in the fall of 2012 under the name Students Support Barnard Workers. SSBW was a student support group for the members of UAW Local 2110, which represents dorm access attendants and clerical workers at Barnard as well as workers at Columbia and Teacher’s College, as they fought for a fair contract with Barnard. Deborah Spar’s administration was demanding a wide array of cutbacks from the workers, including cutting maternity leave, pleading that Barnard was in dire financial straits. The workers argued otherwise, since Barnard could afford lavish new buildings and pay raises for administrators.
SSBW joined the Barnard 2110 members in their fight for a fair contract, kicking off the campaign with a teach-in attended by over a hundred students. The campaign continued with meetings with administrators, weeks of awareness raising, and a flyering campaign at Founder’s Day. The administration seemed like they were digging in on this fight, even in the face of unprecedented student-worker coalition-building.