A great response to President Shalala's op-ed in the Herald, published in yesterday's Coral Gables Gazette by Jane Connolly (I'll add a link when they put it up on-line). A shorter version of this piece appears in Spanish in El Nuevo Herald.
In communicating to the University of Miami and South Florida communities about the labor strife at UM, Donna Shalala has made a number of erroneous statements about the current strike by the janitorial and landscaping workers. As a member of the faculty who was asked to participate in the negotiations called by President Shalala between UNICCO, the contract employer of the workers, and Service Employees International Union (SEIU), I feel compelled to correct these misstatements, including her recent claim that there are ongoing negotiations between UNICCO and SEIU. Both UNICCO and UM walked away from the negotiations table over two weeks ago. SEIU remains willingly to resume negotiations, but dialogue requires more than one party.
President Shalala argues that the increased compensation that UM is offering should have caused the workers and SEIU to declare victory and end the strike. While the workers are gratified to have increased wages and the possibility (finally) of health coverage, they still do not enjoy a living wage. Additionally, the strike has never been about compensation but about unfair labor practices. After investigating charges made by the workers, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found in January that there was "reasonable cause to believe" that the charges were true and issued a complaint (tantamount to an indictment in labor law) alleging that UNICCO violated US labor law by committing the following unfair labor practices: Interrogating workers about their union support; prohibiting them from talking about the union at work; forcing them to sign a statement disavowing the union; accusing them of disloyalty for participating in off-hours union functions; threatening reprisals against union supporters; and conducting unlawful surveillance of a union meeting. A hearing is scheduled for the end of May but may be delayed owing to a dozen new charges now under investigation by the NLRB, including UNICCO’s firing of one of the leading union supporters after she gave an interview to a journalist writing a story about the union campaign. (continued in first comment)
Also in today's El Nuevo Herald is a translation of the four-authored op-ed from the Sun Sentinel a few days ago. (Thanks to Lillian Manzor for the translation of this and Jane's piece.) It also appears in English and in Spanish (a different translation, so literature people can compare and contrast) in Progreso Semanal/Progreso Weekly.
Finally, a nice piece in the on-line People's Weekly World.
The word is getting out!