Thursday, April 20, 2006

Why are the students camped outside Ashe now? In their own words...

Because workers' rights abuses at the University of Miami must be ended.

Because the NLRB's allegations that UNICCO has acted in illegal ways to prevent unionization, such as spying, interrogation, threats, and violating employees' freedom of speech on the job, remain inexplicably and inexcusably unaddressed by the University.

Because the right to organize is a human right.

Because NLRB supervised elections are profoundly undemocratic.

Because there are concerns about card check elections as well.

Because President Shalala herself suggested a third way that would allow UNICCO workers here at UM to make a truly democratic decision about whether or not they want SEIU representation. Now, that third way seems to have disappeared from the University's rhetoric as suddenly as it arrived, and the negotiations that were the result of our previous occupation stalled and dissipated after only two meetings.

Because it is dishonorable and duplicitous for an ostensibly democracy-loving university to side with the business it contracts, and neglect its responsibility to the workers – as the university has done by openly advocating for NLRB elections.

Because all other avenues of dissent have been tried and proven ineffective. We refuse to be ignored any longer; we refuse to allow the workers' voices to be ignored any longer. We refuse to allow injustice to remain, or the rights of the workers to fade away. It is time for a change.

President Shalala, we have come to you a group of women and men, four of whom are hunger striking in solidarity with the workers who are starving for justice. We ask you to think about what truly serves democracy, freedom, and justice, and to help us make this university a better place to be, for all of us.

We have one, very simple demand: President Shalala, tell UNICCO it must resolve its conflict with the SEIU by Monday, April 24th 2006. If UNICCO fails in this very basic task, UM must drop the contract and find a company that will work with a union in a lawful and productive way. We will not leave until we see this promise in writing and publicized for the entire world to see and be proud of, or until we are arrested.

Respectfully, and with hope for a more democratic future,
Concerned students of the Ashe Building

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

After reading this article - it would appear that no one can really hammer down anymore a simple firm answer to the question of why they're doing this. Just a bunch of excuses to keep protesting!?! What's next - those damn mini-wheats???

This is really turning into a bad example of "self terrorism"... people (because of a lack of understanding or maturity) threating harm to themselves if they don't get what they want... except what they're asking for isn't really clear... "I'm hunger striking in protest of a secret democratic vote and I don't understand why everyone is not doing what I've demanded???"

It speaks volumes about these students at how misguided they are... with the war in Iraq, scary energy markets, and a host of other very serious issues that deserve a good protest - you're refusing to eat because a slimy union wants to strong arm a company from excersicing it's legal rights... hmmm that's lame...