Finally, someone mentions the fact that supply-and-demand laws are in play here. Every single time this strike situation has been mentioned in the press or in conversation, people bemoan the fact that UNICCO’s employees get such low wages and no health care. Never mind the fact that people aren’t entitled to a living wage or health care (even though the press thinks they are). You have to earn what you get. Unfortunately, the UNICCO employees are doing this all wrong. They need to wipe out the demand for janitorial services at bare bones prices. If they convinced the university to only sell contracts to companies that will provide a living wage, UNICCO and other companies that bid for these contracts will gladly supply the services.
Also, there’s another problem that nobody’s mentioned: other people work at UM too. I’m an employee that makes less than a “living wage.” I just received a B.A. in my field and started working in my field for $10 an hour here. If the lady that empties my trash can at my office (and that’s all she does regularly) magically starts making $10.75 (the living wage in Miami-Dade) the university will find that it has some more problems to deal with. Specifically, all of us employees who worked our asses off to get an education, amounting tens of thousands of dollars in debt, will be very unhappy. Many of us would be earning less than someone who cleans our offices (and badly at that). I won’t use the S-word, but let’s just say we’d be very displeased.