this is unbelievable.
(all italics mine)
Low-wage jobs no substitution for good, union jobs say displaced workers at Nova Southeastern University
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (SEIU press release)
Workers displaced from their jobs at Nova Southeastern University after a year long fight to transform $7 an hour no-benefits jobs into higher paying jobs with health insurance, spoke out against an University gambit to resolve the crisis by encouraging workers to take temporary low-wage jobs at retailers like Wal-Mart. Nova, in cooperation with Workforce One, will hold a job fair tomorrow morning for displaced workers.
"Nova’s message to the mostly poor and minority workers who lost their jobs is ‘don’t worry, we’ll help you get another low-wage job’ but it should be ‘don’t worry we’ll make sure you are rehired and that you get the union you voted for,” said fired painter Steve McGonigle, “All we want is for Nova to do what other universities in the area have already done—institute a standard that creates good jobs that give back to the community, rather than low-wage jobs that do nothing but breed poverty.”
“We want a future that gives us an opportunity to join the middle class. Nova’s wacky strategy to stop us from having the union we voted for, the union we have a legal right to, does a great disservice to the students, to the board, and to all of Broward County. So we say thank you for the opportunity to look for work, but unless they are good jobs, then we say no thank you.”
Civil rights leaders including a growing list of national leaders, religious leaders and political leaders have now zeroed in on the situation at Nova as the front line of a larger battle—what rights do workers of color truly have, and what do we need to do as a community to safeguard those rights?
The University announced that it was putting their facility management contracts out to bid and ending its decade long relationship with Unicco Services, after Unicco workers on campus voted to form a union. The university replaced Unicco with nearly a dozen small contractors forcing the workers to reapply for their jobs with the new contractors.
Displaced workers have filed charges with the NLRB against Nova Southeastern for trying to thwart the workers right to a union. While other Universities in South Florida have raised standards, wages and provided health insurance for the contract workers on campus, NSU has fought the workers on campus trying to secure living wages, health benefits and a voice on the job.
Janitors at NSU earn less and have fewer benefits than their co-workers at other South Florida universities, including the University of Miami and Florida International University. Janitors at NSU earn just over $7.00 per hour, far less than the county living wage of $11.48 per hour. Providing health insurance and higher wages would only cost the University $1.1 million a year.