Today, Monday August 30th, S.T.A.N.D. (Students Towards a New Democracy) organized a rally on the UM campus in support of janitors and groundskeepers whose contract expires tomorrow. Currently, the workers' attempts to get a small raise, not to fall below the poverty line, and to achieve a few safety measures, are being rebuffed by UNICCO, the subcontractor who employs them.
The rally, attended by about a hundred students, workers and faculty, began at noon today and included impassioned speeches from a number of workers about their desire for a living wage and safe working conditions.
Then, a large delegation of students, workers and faculty went to deliver a letter to President Shalala, asking for her help on behalf of the workers.
We found access to the Ashe building being controlled by police!
At first we were told that we would not be allowed in to deliver the letter. Finally, it was agreed that the students, but not the workers or faculty, could deliver the letter to President Shalala while the rest of us waited outside.
The letter was delivered, and the delegation returned to thunderous applause!