Friday, March 10, 2006

Rally Downtown - SI' SE PUEDE!

Today's rally at Government Center downtown was a spectacular success. About 300-400 people showed up: UM janitors and groundskeepers, faculty and students, and various members of the Miami community. Kudos to everyone!

There were many speakers, starting with a minister delivering a prayer.

Other celebrity speakers included Miami Dade County Commissioner Natacha Seijas, who was instrumental in getting the living wage ordinance passed for the county, Marleine Bastien of FANM, and Zoila Garcia, who was featured in Ana Menendez's great column in the Herald:

You can hear some of the speeches in this audio post, captured on site by our intrepid reporter:

this is an audio post - click to play

The clip opens with the minister delivering the prayer. The second speaker is Rob Schuler, President of the SEIU Local 11. You can hear him thanking many people, which gives you some idea of the variety of organizations and individuals who were there. They included faculty from FIU,

faculty from UM,

Pam Hammons and Gema Perez-Sanchez

and our phenomenal STAND students,

Tanya Aquino

Jacob Coker-Dukowitz

Alyssa Cundari

Beni Yunis

Mewelau Hall

To the workers, to the students, to the faculty, to the Miami community, to everyone who has been instrumental in creating this amazing show of solidarity, we, from the bottom of our hearts, say: THANK YOU PEOPLE, YOU ROCK!

marta gomez

1 comment:

paul h. said...

Just thought I would share this letter that I sent to the Herald. It is still beyond me to understand why the University of Miami has chosen to let this situation fester for so long. The financial issues here for the University cannot be that great but the public relations issue have been an unmitigated disaster. People all over the country now refer to UM as the stingy university that still condones near-slavery conditions. It will take UM years to recover from the pummeling it is now receiving even if they decided to settle the dispute tomorrow. I cannot image who has their hand on the tiller at UM who appears to be determined to run UM up on the shoals in the most public manner. What is UM's goal here? It is a collosal mystery to me. President Shalala should just call everyone into her office and tell them they are not leaving until this issue is resolved. If things continue to deteriote as they have been lately, UM will not have any loyal alumni left and may make themselves an undesirable place for students to chose to attend.

Point gun at foot, pull trigger, shoot oneself in the foot.


Paul H.

To Whom It May Concern:

Certainly running a major university today is a difficult task. However, the fundamental and historical reason for colleges and universities is to seek truth and to pursue the allusive understanding of 'good.'

The current impasse between the maintenance workers at the University of Miami and the University is perplexing for me. Given the role of colleges and universities in our societies - that they inspire and educate us all - that they serve as a role model for the community, not just of the community - I do not understand why the University of Miami is not striving to do the best they can to be a model employer for the community.

Recently I have been at Miami International Airport and noticed that UNICCO workers also maintain that facility. According to the Miami-Dade Living Wage Ordinance, the UNICCO workers at the airport could not be paid less than the current living wage which has been $9.44 per hour if the employer provides health insurance or $10.81 per hour if the employer does not provide health insurance. Recent news coverage of the living wage efforts in our community have cited very credible research indicating that the living wage has been very effective in combating poverty in our community.

Perhaps the University of Miami should swiftly regain its role as a leader in our community and renegotiate their contract with UNICCO and arrange for the UM maintenance workers to be paid at least what the MIA maintenance workers are paid. Equal pay for equal work. Sounds familiar.

Sincerely yours,

Paul C. Hunt
6621 SW 64 Street
South Miami, FL 33143