It’s All About Democracy
While celebrating President Shalala’s announcement of improved compensation and health benefits for campus contract workers, UM Faculty nevertheless stand firm in our support of the UNICCO workers in their continuing strike.
Our protest will continue:
UNICCO stands accused by the National Labor Relations Board of numerous unlawful labor practices, and credible reports suggest that the firm’s anti-union campaign has escalated to the point of firing a leading organizer in retaliation for her union activities. For the UM Administration to stand silent in the face of the lawless disregard of employee rights is a violation of the obligations of responsible corporate citizenship and a failure of moral leadership.
The NLRB is currently investigating the UM Administration itself for refusing union organizers access to campus on a discriminatory and unlawful basis, and the denial of campus access is only the most dramatic instance of UM’s complicity in UNICCO’s anti-union campaign. We note, in particular, the Administration’s decision to side with UNICCO’s call for an NLRB election, despite the fact that a fair election is virtually impossible under NLRB rules – and that final election results would likely be delayed for two or three years – precisely because of UNICCO’s unfair labor practices. These actions are impossible to square with the Administration’s professed “neutrality” in the union campaign and represent unconscionable interference with the organizing efforts of the UNICCO workers.
* until the UM Administration agrees to the establishment of a committee representing all University constituencies to monitor UM’s service contracting practices with the goal of meeting the pay and health care benefit standards established by the Miami-Dade County “Living Wage” ordinance
The compensation and health benefit package announced by President Shalala represents a marked improvement over the University’s contracting practices of the past five years, but it falls far short of the standards established by the Miami-Dade County “Living Wage” ordinance. Indeed, campus contract workers should not be forced to depend on the kindness of an Administration that had not demonstrated any serious inclination to take their interests into account before the onset of the current union campaign. We therefore call for the establishment of a University-wide committee – with faculty, student, and administrative representation as well as a formal voice for campus contract workers – to monitor the pay and benefit practices of UM's service contractors.