In the beginning of the entire STAND-induced UNICCO drama, I was willing to believe most of those involved were all just a bit misguided. I say this because I genuinely feel, as someone who has been employed in these types of jobs, that STAND and those who enable the wokers are not really helping anyone.
Janitorial work is a crap job. While not being an easy thing to do, the objective should be to eventually find something better. One of the main incentives in finding something better-especially when considering the type of work you have to do-is that something better will lead to a better life.
There’s an old saying: Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime. To make a better life for oneself, one would need to metaphorically learn how to fish better. Not an easy road for sure, but nothing of value in life ever is. Instead of doing something that would really help the workers over the long term like working with the universities in the area to provide improved tuition credits and perhaps greater access to university medical services, all STAND and their enablers have done is get the workers a few more fish, something that may ease things slightly in the short term but does nothing beyond that. In the end all they’re doing is making it easier for the workers to stay stuck in a crap job. But what does STAND care? They’ll all be long gone off protesting the WTO by then.
Most students had at least varying degrees of sympathy for the workers. Then STAND pulled that cheap-ass circus stunt, Mickey-Mouse sit-down last week and once again put the same three students right in the center of the television cameras. And what a shock! Two of those students were part of the mediation group last Friday.claiming to represent the majority, I’m sure.
All the students that participated in the sit-down should at the very least be suspended for the remainder of the semester, or have their tuition-remission benefits revoked if they participate in disrupting the very university that provides those benefits. While I was just joking before, now I believe contracting with UNICCO is just too much of a disruption. UM should buy out the contract as soon as possible and start over with something better.
It’s no secret what I think of STAND. They’re a disruptive element on campus, especially given the fact that their entire future agenda seems to be designed to force everyone to adhere to their moral standards-hint, drink lots and lots of Coke. I think the administration should get them the hell out of any mediation talks. SEIU is already represented; we don’t need their children’s division in any meeting to facilitate more ad nauseam bloviating. They’ve already wasted enough of everyone’s time.
Scott Wacholtz is a graduate student in the history department. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.