A powerful letter in today's Herald from Howard Pospesel. (For those of you who don't know, Howard, now Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at UM, was one of the original senate movers on this issue back in 2001.)
University of Miami President Shalala closed her April 19 Other Views column, UM has done its part; now union, Unicco must do theirs, with: ''Meanwhile, we'll be perched -- on the rock, next to the hard place.'' But Shalala placed herself in this position by failing to take adequate action four years ago when two groups from UM, one composed of students and the other of faculty, met with her and
asked her to use her institutional power and moral authority to bring an end to the exploitation of workers on the campuses.
But she offered nothing but Band-Aid solutions, such as free classes in computers and English. What value were these to people who had to hold down two or three jobs to survive? The real problems facing the workers were poverty-level wages and the lack of healthcare.
UM must insist on just treatment of all who are employed there. Shalala should get off her perch on the rock and lead UM out of this mess.
And I got this in an email, but don't know its original source:
ACTIVISTS OCCUPY DC BUILDING TO SUPPORT MIAMI HUNGER STRIKE:
Activists occupied a downtown DC office building Friday at lunchtime to protest union-busting by UNICCO, the building services company that has sparked a 3-week hunger strike at the University of Miami. Chanting "UNICCO has got to go!" two dozen demonstrators stormed the lobby of the Columbia Square building at F and 12th streets while a second group kept the police occupied at the 13th street entrance. The raucous demonstration organized by SEIU 32BJ District 82 filled the elegant atrium with the deafening sounds of whistles, noisemakers and chants. UNICCO -- one of the largest facility services companies in the country -- has contracts at some 25 DC buildings; with the hunger strike continuing in Miami, another local action is planned for next Friday, April 28. Watch this space for details on location and time. Read more about the hunger strike at http://www.seiu.org/