I’m part of a group of employees that has decided to oppose the Service Employees International Union because of its tactics.

First, I’m touched by Patrick Gibbons’s comments. Sometimes we find students’ words more valuable than $13 dollars an hour. Most of us need to hear that from you guys, not from our supervisors and managers.

After Hurricane Katrina we had to work really hard, yes, and we were paid accordingly. There wasn’t enough manpower to face such destruction, but we made it. More than the work that we do, more than getting $13 dollars an hour (that was what they promised us), we prefer to focus on the consideration and acceptance that comes from the students and faculty.

Yet, sometimes we feel denigrated in front of the students and faculty. We have to accept that some of them think we are the scum of the world. They should wear our shoes, so that they can see what it feels. It is not only from UNICCO that we expect something. UNICCO pays us for work; students and faculty should gratify us with words like Mr. Gibbons’s.

The SEIU divides and separates fellow employees, using scare tactics, lies, promises and most dangerously, pits the employee against the company. I have even heard one story of a SEIU worker telling female employees who didn’t want to sign any petition that they disgust him. Isn’t this harassment?

I’ve asked a couple of supervisors that are against the Union what they have to say about it. They say that we have the right to unionize, and they respect that decision. The company hasn’t made any drastic decision against any employee or discriminated or fired anyone because of SEIU. Everybody seems to be misinformed about that.

I recently became an American citizen. I adore this country; I will defend the freedom and democracy whatever it takes. I’m still working at UNICCO, working for a small wage, but at least I have a stable job until another opportunity comes along. SEIU wants employees to believe that their signature is their vote. No, no, no. A vote means a direct and secret vote, a secret ballot! I had my right to vote in the past elections and my vote counted! Why doesn’t SEIU want elections?

The other day SEIU approached some employees that haven’t yet signed its petition because they want an election, and SEIU told them to forget about the elections and just sign. I couldn’t believe what I heard-only tyrants say that. If I will defend democracy at whatever price it takes, I believe we should fight these wrong tactics of SEIU.

I thank Mr. Gibbons very much for his attention and hope that everyone begins supporting a fair race to the end. Let’s keep democracy alive in this institution. We all expect your help.

Mario Pelegrin – UNICCO employee

September 23, 2005


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.