Opinion

Where are all the protestors?

As many of you know, at the end of the semester there was an insurgence of purple shirts, workers on strike, tent cities, and students protesting. Where did all of that go?

On May 1st, just days before graduation, news of the victory came. The SEIU and UNICCO had agreed upon a way in which the janitors would be able to unionize and when striking workers would return to work. They also reasoned that Zoila Mursuli, a worker that was fired after a Sun Sentinel reporter came to interview her, would be re-hired and given full back-pay from the time she was unjustly fired. This, in itself, was a triumph. The service workers who keep this university running, who are often considered invisible, won respect and their livelihood for the first time.

Within the agreement, the SEIU was required to obtain 60% of UNICCO workforce signatures on cards. The cards read, in Creole, Spanish, and English, that whoever signed it wanted to unite with their co-workers for a better life and be represented by SEIU Local 11. This was accomplished in perfect timing with national Justice for Janitors day on June 15th.

An independent third party had reviewed the signatures, counted the cards, and declared the union to be official. For the rest of the summer, a bargaining committee, made up of a group of workers and SEIU organizers, met with UNICCO to discuss the details for the UM contract. After playing stalemate for days, an agreement on contract language was breeched by the committee and UNICCO last Tuesday.

On Wednesday, August 23rd, the contract was ratified with a unanimous vote by over 100 janitors at the Episcopal Church on campus, formerly known as the ‘Strike Sanctuary’.

Victory, in any form, has never felt this good. For those of us who risked our health, reputation, academic standing, attendance at UM, and for those workers who put their lives on the line for justice, respect, and a voice at the workplace, I congratulate you. It was in no way easy, and should not be down played. I encourage everyone, no matter how sympathetic to the fight, to take some time to acknowledge the victors of justice. What they have done is incredible, and the work that they do here cannot be matched. They are people too, who deserve every piece of the American dream.

I dedicate this article to the late Julia Rosa Alvarez, a UNICCO worker, who died on August 9th from a heart attack. May she rest assured that she was valued and loved by the UM community.

Alyssa Cundari is a sophomore majoring in History and Political Science. She can be contacted at a.cundari@umiami.edu.

August 29, 2006

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

If he hasn’t made it already, Miami Hurricanes coach Mark Richt has a defining decision to ponder in ...

They were way below the radar coming into the 1983 season. And after their 28-3 opening-game loss to ...

In the opening eight minutes on Saturday — and the final seven minutes — FIU looked like a team that ...

The N’Kosi Perry era is here. Whether it’s here to stay is yet to be seen. The fans got what they wa ...

Ten takeaways from UM’s 31-17 win against FIU on Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium: ▪ Credit Mark Richt ...

Get Out The Vote, a nonpartisan initiative headed by the Division of Student Affairs and the Butler ...

University of Miami Libraries commemorates Banned Books Week with a special event and display. ...

A year after UPup’s founding father met his match, the service club is realizing its goal of becomin ...

UM students, faculty and staff commemorated the five-year anniversary of the Donna E. Shalala Studen ...

Miami’s Turnover Chain inspires copycats, but the U’s turnover prop has a ‘cool factor.’ ...

The Miami Hurricanes were one of the biggest risers in both major polls released Sunday, jumping to ...

The University of Miami volleyball program defeated Duke, 3-1, winning its fourth straight match and ...

Estela Perez-Somarriba of the Miami women's tennis team earned one of the most prestigious coll ...

The season-opening, three-day Miami Fall Invite wrapped up Sunday at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center a ...

N'Kosi Perry and a dominant Miami defense led the Hurricanes to a 31-17 victory over the Panthe ...

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.