UNICCO: STANDing up for hypocrisy

I just want to give a great big thank you to STAND and its parent corporation, Service Employees International Union, for providing me with the creative drive to come up with a perfect solution to the UNICCO workers dilemma.

There’s a kind of almost amusing disconnect between real life and life on a college campus. It’s like the complaints about the price of gas, or the war in Iraq being about the flow of oil, all the while students ride here every day in the SUVs that contribute to the need for so much oil.

Likewise it’s kind of funny that students who attend a high-priced private school like UM, who are either here on mom and dad’s dime or in some cases on a parent’s tuition remission benefit, try to sound credible when they explain what it must be like to live on the wages of the average UNICCO worker (which I have). One of the reasons many of these activists have so much time to stand around and try and shame leading members of the administration is because they don’t have to spend their time doing anything else. Certainly not all of them, but enough.

It’s sad but to be expected that they’ve decided to malign President Shalala in order to get their way. This of course highlights my point about not living in the real world. The concerns about UNICCO wages is not the only concern here. It’s certainly not as simple as STAND would have us believe (and can we really believe them?).

Perhaps it would be helpful if they explained who is actually providing the funding for their leadership to fly all over the country to attend activist training seminars like the one many of them attended in San Francisco recently. Can the average UNICCO worker afford a ticket to San Francisco? Maybe they could have donated the money for those tickets to help create a fund for providing a better life for the poor and downtrodden that toil away every day on our well-landscaped campus. But then they would have missed out on a free trip to San Francisco.

In the end I agree with the administration’s position that the outcome of this wage dispute is between UNICCO and its employees-not UNICCO and a bunch of over-privileged patricians who only have their studies to worry about and little else.

But never fear-on to my long-delayed central point. I know a way to solve this problem once and for all. UM should buy out the UNICCO contract and be done with it. That way there won’t be any UNICCO workers left to fret over and plenty of open positions for members of STAND, who apparently have an overabundance of free time, to mow the lawn and empty my trash can. I’d even be willing to support a $10-an-hour wage just to see that.

Scott Wacholtz is a graduate student in the history department. He can be contacted at s.wacholtz@umiami.edu.