Global Labor Leaders Ask University President Donna Shalala to Intervene
MIAMI, April 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, a group of labor leaders from Brazil, Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, Nicaragua, Jamaica, St. Marten, Chile, and Costa Rica visited with strikers at the University of Miami who are protesting violations of their civil rights. The leaders, whose unions are affiliates of Public Services International (PSI), met with strikers to express their support for the stand they've taken and to discuss what they can do to assist strikers once they return to their home countries.
"It's time for University President Donna Shalala to do what's right and just," said Leandro Avila from the Panamanian union, the Federation of Public Employees (FENASEP) and a member of the Panama National Congress.
An international spotlight is shining on a strike by immigrant janitors, housekeepers and groundskeepers at University of Miami, which recruits students from countries as diverse as China, Venezuela, Colombia and India. The strikers and many of the campus service workers are immigrants from Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica and Peru, and other countries, reflecting the international flavor of Miami.
International pressure is increasing on University President Donna Shalala, a former Clinton administration official, to intervene in the strike now entering its eighth week.
Trade unionists from across the globe have sent more than 4,000 email messages to Shalala urging her to tell campus maintenance contractor UNICCO to stop breaking the law. The campaign was spearheaded by a website based in the United Kingdom, http://www.labourstart.org.
In a recent letter to Shalala, Philip Jennings, president of the global union, Union Network International, reminded her, "UNICCO is your contractor. It's your responsibility to resolve this situation."