Tuesday, March 20, 2007

UM and FIU faculty speak out on Nova janitors situtation

Nova Southeastern University is treating its janitors with a callous disregard of human decency that brings shame to the South Florida academic community. After learning that the janitors had joined the Service Employees International Union, Nova dismissed its contractor, Unicco, and solicited new bids. The janitors worked several months without knowing if they would be rehired. In spite of vague reassurances to the contrary, they weren't. The new contractor, TCB, subcontracted the cleaning and groundskeeping jobs to a number of smaller companies, which splintered the number of employers and made labor organizing all but impossible. On the day the new contractors took charge, more than one hundred janitors were turned away at the gate. They were given no notice and no explanation.

There are now 100 families in Broward that have not seen a paycheck for several weeks. Some of these employees have worked at Nova for years and it won't be easy for them to find new employment. It was easier for Nova to abandon these workers to financial insecurity and hardship than to allow for the improved working conditions that union bargaining would have
facilitated. This is a shame and a blight on an academic institution that contends it aims at excellence. Excellence is incompatible with the environment fostered by such blatant disregard of fair and humane treatment of employees. We are very proud that our universities, FIU and UM, are now offering fair contracts and higher standards to a body of unionized janitors. Our
colleagues at Nova and their students deserve a similarly fair working environment. We would like to express our solidarity with the fired Nova workers, and to voice our strongest objection to the actions of President Ferrero and his attack on workers' rights.

David Abraham, UM, Law
Elizabeth Aranda, UM, Sociology
Traci Ardren, UM, Anthropology
Anthony Barthelemy, UM, English
Marc Brudzinski, UM, Modern Languages and Literatures
Steven Butterman, UM, Modern Languages and Literatures
Linda Belgrave, UM, Sociology
Sue Ann Campbell, UM, Law
Frank Corbishley, UM, Chaplain
Lina del Castillo, UM, History
Christina Civantos, UM, Modern Languages and Literatures
Connolly, Jane, UM, Modern Languages and Literatures
Louise Davidson-Schmich, UM, Political Science
Michael Davidson-Schmich, UM, Modern Languages and Literatures
Simon Evnine, UM, Philosophy
Roger Kanet, UM, International Studies
Anthony Krupp, UM, Modern Languages and Literatures
M. Evelina Galang, UM, English
Green, Andrew, UM, English
Steven Green, UM, Biology
Alan Gummerson, FIU, Economics
Bruce Hauptli, Chairperson of FIU's Faculty Senate
April Mann, UM, English
Lillian Manzor, UM, Modern Languages and Literatures
Ambler Moss, UM, International Studies
Daniel Messinger, UM, Psychology
Bruce Nissen, FIU, Center for Labor Research and Studies
Martha Otis, UM, English
Giovanna Pompele, UM, English
Kate Ramsey, UM, History
Jeffrey Shoulson, UM, English
Harvey Siegel, UM, Philosophy
William Smith, UM, International Studies
Andrew Strycharski, UM, English
Peter Tarjan, UM, Biomedical Engineering
Hugh Thomas, UM, History
Tim Watson, UM, English
Katharine Westaway, UM, English
Richard Weisskoff, UM, International Studies
David Wilson, UM, Professor of Biology
Woshinsky, Barbara, UM, Modern Languages and Literatures


Anthony Chase said...

Dear Picketline:

I would like to thank all the folks who signed the Faculty for Workplace Justice statement on NSU's labor tactics. The only differences between myself and the signers are(1)that I do NOT work at an institution, like UM or FIU, which has at least tried to do justice by its janitors and other workers, and (2) I personally got to know lots of the men and women who have lost their jobs here and I miss them. Like every mass firing, there are real people behind the statistics, people with names and faces and kids and bills to pay, just like the rest of us. I want to thank each supporter of Faculty for Workplace Justice for their effort to help do something concrete about this situation. And I would like to add my name to the statement which definitely hits the nail on the head.

Anthony Chase
Professor of Law
Nova Southeastern University

Bob said...

Dear Picketline:

I would also like to thank those who signed the statement and add my name to the list of faculty.

I fully support this letter, as would any reasonable individual.

Unfortunately, it seems little has changed since I left. (Is Ray still president? That would explain a few things.)

Robert M. Seltzer
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
NSU 2000-2005

masinter said...

Dear Picketline:

I too wish to thank everyone who signed the Faculty for Workplace Justice statement, and to endorse the comments of Professor Chase. A university teaches its students through its conduct as well as through its words. I had hoped that NSU would have taught its students that a university must treat all who labor on its behalf with respect and dignity, embracing their right to join a union. I had hoped that NSU would have taught its students that impeding the attempt to form a union is contemptible behavior. I am disappointed and saddened by NSU's treatment of its janitors and other workers; NSU can and must do better.

Michael R. Masinter
Professor of Law
Nova Southeastern University