Opinion

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Students and employees have taken action to improve conditions for which UNICCO janitorial staff work under-conditions that literally hover below the federal poverty line.

It is important to clarify what Students Toward a New Democracy (STAND) and other groups want and ask of the university. It is not STAND’s goal to gain union membership. The decision to join a union is strictly up to employees.

The real issue is UM President Donna Shalala’s position of neutrality regarding SEIU-employee relations. Dozens of workers have said that there have been mandatory anti-union meetings held by UNICCO, where workers are told that membership is an indication of a low IQ, among other insults.

Shalala has had a policy of forceful removal of SEIU officials on campus, denying them their right to solicit employees. This despite UM’s solicitation policy (section A011) that explicitly allows union activity on campus. Neutrality that permits UNICCO’s anti-union propaganda while silencing legitimate union efforts is not real neutrality.

Students request that SEIU officials be given equal access. We want each worker to be able to make his or her own decision.

Shalala could go a step further. STAND and other organizations want her to agree that she will not cut the contract with UNICCO if the union drive is successful, and thus force 400 low-income workers out of their jobs. Shalala has made no such commitment, even though students raised the issue at an open forum recently.

Regardless of the outcome of the union drive, Shalala should commit to help fund a living wage and maintain healthcare for the service employees under UNICCO, which has said that all Shalala would have to do is give it more money, and it would help to institute these fundamental improvements. We ask that UM help workers meet the basic level of subsistence in one the poorest large cities in the country.

None of STAND’s requests are inconsistent with Shalala’s commitment to neutrality on the union drive. The issues are: equitable access to union efforts, commitment to a living wage, and a commitment that people can keep their jobs if they unionize. We do not believe that poverty and complicity with corporate interests are values that Shalala or UM embraces. The diverse coalition who is addressing this issue has faith that they will discover what is really valuable-dignity for labor and respect for employees, which mean benefits and a living wage.

Jacob Coker-Dukowitz

STAND

January 20, 2006

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

This time, there was no miracle Miami win over Duke. The fifth-ranked Blue Devils rallied from a 13- ...

It was obvious before tipoff that the University of Miami game against No. 5 Duke was no ordinary Hu ...

Miami Hurricanes backup quarterback Evan Shirreffs announced Monday on Twitter that he will transfer ...

Here’s one of the many neat things about the UM football program, a tradition that has carried on fo ...

Clemson coach Brad Brownell had a simple plan at the only practice before facing No. 18 Miami — don ...

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision for a “Beloved Community” has inspired a number of University of ...

UM launches three cyber security certificate programs to equip professionals for the growing employm ...

The second annual Big Data Conference and Workshop hosted by UM Center for Computational Science enc ...

Now in its 67th year, the Beaux Arts Festival will move to the Foote University Green. ...

UMIAMIFL also outperformed two key S&P benchmarks by more than nine percent. ...

Lonnie Walker IV scored 19 points, but it wasn't enough as the Canes fell to the Blue Devils at ...

The University of Miami women's basketball team took down Clemson behind a career-high 19 point ...

The University of Miami announced Monday that it has relieved Mary-Frances Monroe of her duties as h ...

As the University of Miami heads into 2018, check out the latest edition of Hurricane Magazine. ...

Hurricanes and Blue Devils square off at 7 p.m. Monday. ...

TMH Twitter Feed
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.