Opinion

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

As many of you in the University Community have recently observed, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has engaged in a campaign to convince employees of UNICCO Service Company to become members of its labor organization. UNICCO, whose employees perform janitorial, cleaning and landscaping services for the University of Miami, employs 18,000 people across the United States, many of which are unionized.

In addition, a new student group has been formed called Students Toward A New Democracy (STAND). STAND sees its role in the matter to pressure UNICCO through the Union organization and contract negotiation process.

While the stated purposes of the SEIU and STAND may seem noble, the methods actually being employed to achieve their objectives raises significant issues concerning individual employee rights. The SEIU wants UNICCO to grant voluntary recognition to the union based upon signatures of a majority of employees on a petition they have circulated. The document also provides that the employees waive their right to the only alternative means of determining representation-a secret ballot election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board. We have some serious problems with this scenario.

UNICCO employees have complained of threats and coercion by SEIU organizers to sign the petition. A number have said that organizers have told them that if they do not support the union they will be fired if and when the union gets in. Others have also indicated they are not in favor of being represented by the SEIU, or that they are undecided on the issue, or that they have changed their mind since signing.

Imagine for a moment what the Union would say if we presented a petition with signatures from workers whom we said did not want union representation.

The decision on whether workers want Union representation should be clearly theirs alone, and not a result of what the union or their employer agree to or want to happen.

We believe that a fairly conducted, secret ballot vote administered by the National Labor Relations Board is the only way to properly ensure that workers’ wishes and intents are accurately represented. Moreover, secret ballot voting is a basic American right. This way every single employee can weigh in on the issues, make a decision with a clear mind, and vote without fear of retaliation. A prompt vote will provide an expeditious resolution to the question of whether UNICCO employees wish to be represented by the SEIU and avoid a long campaign that would be disruptive and distracting to the university community.

In order for this to happen, the SEIU itself must go to the National Labor Relations Board and call for the election. The university community as a whole, including administration, students and the members of STAND, should want this as well. After all, this is what democracy in our country is all about.

James B. Canavan

Vice President of Labor Relations

UNICCO Service Company

December 2, 2005

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

It’s the play Miami Hurricanes fans will never forget — and Florida State fans are trying to forget. ...

Miami Hurricanes fans might recall their favorite college football players in past years dreaming of ...

The new quarterback is usually the ones fans gush over. For the University of Miami, last season it ...

Debate all you want, but University of Miami football coach Mark Richt made it clearer than ever Wed ...

Last year, when University of Miami tailback Mark Walton attended the Atlantic Coast Conference Foot ...

An ACLU report authored by UM sociologists documents racial and ethnic disparities in Miami-Dade Cou ...

Following the summit between Trump and Putin, reaction from politicians, pundits and former intellig ...

A School of Communication associate professor played an important hand—an artistic one!—in World Cup ...

University of Miami law and political science professors weigh in on Trump’s SCOTUS nominee. ...

Research bioclimatologists with the UM Synoptic Climatology Lab counsel cities on how to manage risi ...

Miami senior Tyler Gauthier was named to the 2018 Fall Watch List for the Rimington Trophy presented ...

Miami junior wide receiver Ahmmon Richards was among those named to the watch list for the 2018 Bile ...

University of Miami junior running back Travis Homer was named a preseason candidate for the Doak Wa ...

Six former Canes competed on NBA Summer League teams, with three averaging at least 10 points per ga ...

Quick Hits gives University of Miami volleyball fans an opportunity to get to know the new student-a ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

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 in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.