Sunday, March 31, 2013

Petition from UM faculty about Chartwells workers on campus

The following is the text of a petition from faculty at UM to President Shalala (signatures are being constantly updated). If you teach at UM, either as regular faculty, adjunct faculty, or as a graduate student, and want to have your name added to the petition, please email Simon Evnine at
We the undersigned, members of the faculty of the University of Miami, are writing to express our support of the Chartwells workers in their pursuit of decent and humane working conditions. In particular, we support their right to earn a living wage and, if the majority of workers choose to do so, to join a union, and ask that these rights be supported by the UM administration as well. 
Whereas UNICCO workers are unionized, make an average of $11.55 per hour, and have free health insurance, the Chartwells workers work without a contract, make an average of $9.50 per hour, and are offered health insurance only at a cost that is prohibitive to many of them. Given mandatory furloughs during the summer and other break times, and Chartwells’ regular curtailing of their hours, many food workers on our campuses make about $10,000 a year. Many of them require federal poverty programs (housing assistance, food stamps, Medicaid) to subsist.

We ask that the administration address this gross injustice towards the people who prepare and serve food on our campuses. Since the vast majority of these workers are African American, this de facto segregation in working conditions seems particularly egregious to us.

Please make clear to Chartwells that their workers must be given a fair and expeditious way of implementing their legal right to join a union and engage in collective bargaining to lift themselves out of abject poverty.

We look forward to hearing from you about what steps the university is taking in this regard.
  1. Aaron Wilson, Philosophy
  2. Alberto Cairo, Journalism
  3. Alejandro Portes, Law
  4. Alexandra Quittner, Psychology
  5. Alok Amatya, English
  6. Alyssa Dragnich, Law
  7. Amanda Thibodeau, English
  8. Ambler Moss, INS
  9. Amie Thomasson, Philosophy
  10. Amy Weisman, Psychology
  11. Andrew Green, English Composition
  12. Angela Knapp, Marine and Atmospheric Chemistry
  13. Anita Cava, Business Law
  14. Anito Joseph, Management
  15. Anthony Alfieri, Law
  16. Anthony Barthelemy, English
  17. Anthony Hynes, Marine and Atmospheric Chemistry
  18. Anton Dochtermann, Mathematics
  19. April Mann, English Composition
  20. Ariana Magdaleno, MLL
  21. Ashley Mikulyuk, Sociology
  22. Ashli White, History
  23. Athena Hadjixenofontos, Human Genetics
  24. Athula Wikramanayake, Biology
  25. Barbara Colonna, Chemistry
  26. Barbara Leibell, Cinema and Interactive Media
  27. Batya Elbaum, Teaching and Learning
  28. Belkys Torres, Women's and Gender Studies
  29. Ben Alsup, English Composition
  30. Ben Burgis, Philosophy
  31. Bernard Perlmutter, Law
  32. Beth Harry, Teaching and Learning
  33. Bill Smith, International Studies
  34. Billie Lynn, Art and Art History
  35. Brad Cokelet, Philosophy
  36. Brenna Munro, English
  37. Brian Curtis, Art and Art History
  38. Briana Casali, English 
  39. Bridget Arce, MLL
  40. Bruce Bagley, International Studies
  41. Bryn Hughes, Music
  42. Caleb Everett, Anthropology
  43. Caroline Bettinger-Lopez, Law
  44. Carolyn Chema, Art and Art History
  45. Catherine Baker, English
  46. Cecilia Vazquez, MLL
  47. Chaitanya Jain, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  48. Charlton Copeland, Law
  49. Chidong Zhang, Meteorology and Physical Oceanography
  50. Christina Civantos, MLL
  51. Christina Lane, Cinema and Interactive Media
  52. Clay Ewing, Cinema and Interactive Media
  53. Colin McGinn, Philosophy
  54. Christine Morando, English Composition
  55. Cynthia Foronda, Nursing and Health Studies
  56. Dan Corrigan, Philosophy
  57. Dan DiResta, Biology
  58. Dana Krempels, Biology
  59. Daniel Benetti, Marine Affairs and Policy
  60. Daniel Messinger, Psychology                                             
  61. Daniel Rivera, MLL
  62. Daniel Santisteban, Nursing and Health Studies
  63. Daniel Williams, Music
  64. David Abraham, Law
  65. David Graf, Religious Studies
  66. David Lee, Epidemiology and Public Health
  67. David Wilson, Biology
  68. Dennis Kam, Music
  69. Dexter Callendar, Religious Studies
  70. Dominique Reill, History
  71. Donald Spivey, History
  72. Donna Coker, Law
  73. Edmund Abaka, History/Africana Studies
  74. Eduardo Elena, History
  75. Eduardo Negueruela-Azarola, MLL
  76. Elena Grau-Lleveria, MLL
  77. Eleni Sfakianaki, Epidemiology and Public Health
  78. Elijah Chudnoff, Philosophy
  79. Elisabeth Juetten, MLL
  80. Elisabeth Llaveria-Powell, MLL
  81. Elizabeth M. Iglesias, Law
  82. Ellen Belfer, Law
  83. Elvira Maria Restrepo, INS
  84. Eric Firley, Architecture
  85. Erin Kobetz-Kerman, Epidemiology and Public Health
  86. Eugene Clasby, English
  87. Evelina Galang, English
  88. Farrin Anello, Law
  89. Felix Mormann, Law
  90. Fiorella Cotrina, MLL
  91. Francisca Aguiló Mora MLL
  92. Francisco Raymo, Chemistry
  93. Frank Corbishley, Chaplain                                          
  94. Frank Palmeri, English
  95. Frank Stringfellow, English
  96. Fredrik Haraldsen, Philosophy
  97. Gema Perez-Sanchez, MLL
  98. Gennaro Bernile, Finance
  99. Geoff Stone, Microbiology and Immunology
  100. George Hendren, Classics
  101. George Yúdice, MLL
  102. Gina Maranto, Ecosystem Science and Policy
  103. Giovanna Pompele, Women's and Gender Studies
  104. Gonzalo Soruco, Strategic Communication
  105. Grace Barnes, Cinema and Interactive Media
  106. Gregor Eberli, Marine Geology and Geophysics
  107. Gregory Bush, History
  108. Guerda Nicolas, Educational and Psychological Studies
  109. Han Tran, Classics
  110. Harvey Siegel, Philosophy
  111. Heleana Theixos, Philosophy
  112. Henry Green, Religious Studies
  113. Hugh Thomas, History
  114. Isaac Skromne, Biology
  115. Irwin Stotzky, Law
  116. James Britton, Composition
  117. James Natland, Marine Geology and Geophysics
  118. James Virga, Cinema and Interactive Media
  119. Jane Alison, English
  120. Jane Connolly, MLL
  121. Jeff Donnelly, American Studies
  122. Jennifer Hill, Law
  123. Jennifer Clarke, Epidemiology
  124. Jennifer Krawec, Teaching and Learning
  125. Jennifer Swanson, Philosophy
  126. Jessica Morris, Law
  127. Jessica Stults, English
  128. Joel Nickels, English
  129. John Funchion, English
  130. John Murphy, Sociology
  131. John Yarling, Music
  132. Jonathan West, Political Science
  133. Joseph Alkana, English
  134. Josephina Olascoaga, Applied Marine Physics
  135. Josh Diem, Teaching and Learning
  136. Joshua Shriftman,  English Composition
  137. Juan Kanai, Geography
  138. Julie Samit, MLL
  139. Jyotika Ramaprasad, Journalism
  140. Kamal Premaratne, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  141. Karen Kennedy, Music
  142. Karen Turner, Business Law
  143. Karl Gunther, History
  144. Kate Ramsey, History
  145. Katharine Westaway, English
  146. Katherine Wheeler, Architecture
  147. Kathryn Freeman, English
  148. Kathryn Tosney, Biology
  149. Keith D. Waddington, Biology
  150. Ken Muller, Physiology
  151. Kenny Broad, Marine Affairs and Policy
  152. Kenya Snowden, Nursing and Health Studies
  153. Keri Kettle, Marketing
  154. Kevin Finn, MLL
  155. Kunal Parker, Law
  156. Kurt Voss-Hoynes, English
  157. Lansing McLoskey, Music
  158. Larry Peterson, Marine Geology and Geophysics
  159. Laura Giannetti, MLL
  160. Lauren Petrino, English
  161. Lillian Manzor, MLL
  162. Lilliann Zamora, Biology
  163. Linda Belgrave, Sociology
  164. Lisa Reyes, English Composition
  165. Lora Fleming, Epidemiology and Public Health (Emerita)
  166. Louis Marcelin, Anthropology
  167. Louise Davidson-Schmich, Political Science
  168. Luis Vargas, Biology
  169. Luz Ainai Morales Pino, MLL
  170. Lydia Buki, Educational and Psychological Studies
  171. Manohar Narayanamurthi, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  172. Mari Williams, MLL                                     
  173. Maria Gracia Pardo, Latin American Studies
  174. Maria Carlo, Teaching and Learning
  175. Maria Llabre, Psychology
  176. Maria Galli Stampino, MLL
  177. Maria Luisa Negrin, MLL
  178. Marjorie Oleksiak, Marine Biology and Fisheries
  179. Mark Douglas Warren, Philosophy
  180. Markus Wagner, Law
  181. Markus Zisselsberger, MLL
  182. Marta Fernandez Campa, English
  183. Martha Mahoney, Law
  184. Martha Otis, English Composition
  185. Martin Schiavenato, Nursing and Health Studies
  186. Mathias Lichtenheld, Microbiology and Immunology
  187. Maureen Seaton, English
  188. Merike Blofield, Political Science
  189. Meryl Blau, Strategic Communication
  190. Micah Dugas, Philosophy
  191. Michael Bernath, History
  192. Michael Froomkin, Law
  193. Michel Dupagne, Journalism
  194. Michelle Seelig, Cinema and Interactive Media
  195. Michiko Kitayama Skinner, Theater Arts
  196. Mike Brown, Applied Marine Physics
  197. Mónica Durán, MLL
  198. Nevis Fregien, Cell Biology
  199. Nick Stang, Philosophy
  200. Nicolas Bordage, MLL
  201. Nihel Jhou, Philosophy
  202. Noel Alphonse, Philosophy
  203. Nomi Weiss-Laxer, Nursing and Health Studies
  204. Nurbay Irmak, Philosophy
  205. Osamudia James, Law
  206. Otávio Bueno, Philosophy
  207. Pamela Geller, Anthropology
  208. Pamela Hammons, English
  209. Paquita Zuidema, Meteorology and Physical Oceanography
  210. Pat McCarthy, English
  211. Pat Saunders, English
  212. Patti Rose, Anthropology
  213. Paul Lazarus, Cinema and Interactive Media
  214. Peter Lewis, Philosophy
  215. Peter O. Muller, Geography
  216. Peter Tarjan, Biomedical Design and Instrumentation (Emeritus)
  217. Phillip Schwind, Philosophy
  218. Rachel H. Smith, Law
  219. Ralph Heyndels, MLL
  220. Rami El Ali, Philosophy
  221. Ranen Omer-Sherman, English
  222. Raul de Velasco, Philosophy
  223. Rebecca Duncan, Biology
  224. René Sacasas, Business Law
  225. Ricardo Zulueta, Cinema and Interactive Media
  226. Richard Simpson, English
  227. Richard Weisskoff, International Studies
  228. Rina Tzinman, Philosophy
  229. Risto Hilpinen, Philosophy
  230. Robert Johnson, Sociology
  231. Robert Rosen, Law
  232. Robin Neiman, Philosophy
  233. Rod Gillis, Psychology
  234. Roger Kanet, International Studies
  235. Roland Romeiser, Applied Marine Physics
  236. Ronald Charles, Religious Studies
  237. Roxane Pickens, English Composition
  238. Ryan Lake, Philosophy
  239. Sallie Hughes, Journalism
  240. Salvador Raggio, MLL
  241. Sanjeev Chatterjee, Cinema and Interactive Media
  242. Sarah Beth Lesson, Philosophy
  243. Scotney Evans, Educational and Psychological Studies
  244. Scott Farrington, Classics
  245. Scott Rogers, Law
  246. Shara Kobetz-Pelz, Law
  247. Sharan Majumdar, Meteorology and Physical Oceanography
  248. Sherri Porcelain, INS
  249. Shuyi Chen, Meteorology and Physical Oceanography
  250. Simon Evnine, Philosophy
  251. Skylor Swann, Art and Art History
  252. Stanley Langbein, Law
  253. Stephen Sapp, Religious Studies
  254. Stephen Schnably, Law
  255. Stephen Stein, History
  256. Steven Butterman, MLL
  257. Steven Green, Biology                                     
  258. Subha Xavier, MLL
  259. Suhrud Rajguru, 
    Biomedical Engineering and Otolaryngology
  260. Sumita Chatterjee, History/Women's and Gender Studies
  261. Sunny Tsai, Advertising
  262. Susan Bennett, Law
  263. Sybil Lipschultz, History
  264. Tamara Lave, Law
  265. Tassie Gwilliam, English
  266. Terri Doud, Law
  267. Terri Scandura, Management
  268. Thomas Champney, Cell Biology
  269. Thomas K. Harris, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  270. Thomas Musca, Cinema and Interactive Media
  271. Tim Watson, English
  272. Tom Goodman, English 
  273. Tom Lopez, Art and Art History
  274. Tom Steinfatt, Communication Studies
  275. Traci Ardren, Anthropology
  276. Tracy Devine Guzmán, MLL
  277. Tsitsi D. Wakhisi, Journalism
  278. Vidhi Chhaochharia, Finance
  279. Walid Saad, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  280. Walter G. Secada, School of Education and Human Development
  281. Wendy Cavendish, Teaching and Learning
  282. Willa Collins, Music
  283. William Pestle, Anthropology 
  284. William Rothman, Cinema and Interactive Media
  285. Wilson Shearin, Classics
  286. Yves Colon, Journalism
  287. Yvonne Gavela-Ramos, MLL

Saturday, March 30, 2013

An Easter Message

From Pope Leo XIII (1810-1903), in his encyclical Rerum Novarum (1891):

Furthermore, the employer must never tax his work people beyond their strength, or employ them in work unsuited to their sex and age. His great and principal duty is to give every one what is just. Doubtless, before deciding whether wages are fair, many things have to be considered; but wealthy owners and all masters of labor should be mindful of this—that to exercise pressure upon the indigent and the destitute for the sake of gain, and to gather one’s profit out of the need of another, is condemned by all laws, human and divine. To defraud any one of wages that are his due is a great crime which cries to the avenging anger of Heaven. "Behold, the hire of the laborers ... which by fraud has been kept back by you, crieth; and the cry of them hath entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth." Lastly, the rich must religiously refrain from cutting down the workmen’s earnings, whether by force, by fraud, or by usurious dealing; and with all the greater reason because the laboring man is, as a rule, weak and unprotected, and because his slender means should in proportion to their scantiness be accounted sacred.
(Thanks to Jeff Donnelly for the reference.)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Class Divisions in Miami

Check out this interesting piece, based on recent census material, about class divisions in Miami.

Article in the Huffington Post on campus workers' wages calls out UM by name

A great article in the Huffington Post about the appalling level of wages for workers on campuses in the US:

"Very few low-wage workers on American campuses even earn a poverty-level income, let alone receive health benefits. Many work only nine or 10 months a year and are often barred from receiving unemployment benefits during the few summer months they are unemployed. Yet their work is an essential ingredient of college life; without them, campuses couldn't function," Eisenberg wrote in one of many dead-on statements in the post.

He added: "It is in part the result of our growing class divide, in which blue-collar and low-level service workers are granted little or no respect and are treated accordingly. The fact that so many of these workers are members of minority groups taps into lingering negative attitudes about immigrant workers and people of color. Moreover, many colleges have become big businesses, reflecting corporate values: management efficiency, top-down decision making, a wide divide between top salaries and those of the lowest-paid workers, and trustees who care little about academic matters but a great deal about finances and fund raising."

Eisenberg mentions UM in particular:

"At Georgetown University, an undergraduate-led living-wage coalition won a victory over a recalcitrant university administration. At Harvard and the University of Miami, pressure from students and unions prompted the institutions to raise the wages of both their direct and contract employees, yet the negotiations were protracted and painful. During the struggles, students at Harvard pointed out that the university at the time had a $19-billion endowment. At Miami, President Donna Shalala enjoyed a $500,000-plus salary and a large university house."

The assertion regarding UM is correct but not, unfortunately, the end of the story. At Picketline, the fight to bring economic justice to more than 200 janitors at UM was our raison d'être. We lived this fight until these proud workers got a measure of justice. The victory was, however, incomplete because not all low-wage workers were made whole by this fight.

More than 200 food service workers continue to earn to this day poverty wages with inadequate benefits. In fact, the only way many of them get by is by tapping into public assistance like Section 8 for rent, food stamps and other welfare subsidies. At one of the nation's wealthiest universities, where its administrators are handsomely rewarded, it is just not right.

That food service workers live like this is a shame for all of us at UM. That is why we must fight for economic justice for our food service workers. It is a fight we must wage now. We don't have a moment to waste.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Cornel West visits UM (2/21/12) and speaks up for the Chartwells workers

On his visit to UM's campus in February 2012, Cornel West made an impromptu appearance at a rally staged by  Chartwells food service workers and spoke in support of their attempts to unionize.


University of Miami student Djevelyne Phileus speaks up for food service workers at the university

University of Miami student Djevelyne Phileus speaks up for food service workers at the university who are fighting for fairness, betterpay, better benefits and for a voice in their workplace.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

UM's Chartwells workers Launch Facebook page

Today is a big day in the UM's food service workers’ fight for economic justice.

First, the workers started the day with a meeting of support from campus groups, including students and faculty. Shortly after, they announced their social media presence with a launch of a Facebook page,, to begin to tell the world their stories.

The workers have also deployed the hashtag #WeCaneDoBetter to amplify their campaign's story on Twitter.

Many workers, like Renato Garcia and Nicole Tanea Berry, say they would like a voice in the workplace, which they feel is best achieved through unionization. SEIU 32BJ has been assisting the food service workers in their struggle for economic justice, campaigning for family-sustaining wages and benefits to begin to life them above the poverty line.

The UM Cafeteria/Chartwells are fighting for respect and a voice in the workplace. They want better hours, better pay, and better benefits. Many of the workers say they make so little money and get such poor benefits that they have to rely on welfare to get healthcare and food stamps to get food.

Currently full-time Chartwells workers, most of them African-Americans, make as little as $10,000/year. Landscaping and janitorial staff employed by UNICCO on campus, who unionized through SEIU 32BJ after a long fight in 2006, earn on average $24,000 with health insurance.

By turning poverty-wage jobs into family-sustaining jobs during tough economic times, 32BJ SEIU--the nation’s largest property service union--is helping reclaim the dream of middle-class life for many in our communities.

UM is the second biggest employer in Miami, one of the poorest and most unequal cities in the nation, with one of the highest costs of living. What is the University of Miami's responsibility to the city and to the community of workers who serve it and its students? It’s certainly not to exploit workers, as it’s doing through its contracting practices.

In Miami today, taxpayers are subsidizing a tax-exempt multi-million dollar University whose contractors pay poverty wages and provide so little or no employment or health benefits that they force workers to rely on public assistance for vital needs such as healthcare, housing costs and food stamps for themselves and their families.

This is an injustice not just for the workers and their families, but for taxpayers who pay double every time workers rely upon a social program for a benefit they should have through his or her job.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Meeting, March 21st, for Faculty (and Others) to Learn about Chartwells workers at UM

UM colleagues and friends: there will be a meeting in support of Chartwells dining service workers' struggle for unionization, Thursday March 21, 10:30 am, Venerable Bede Episcopal Church on campus (right next to Canterbury preschool and Hillel). Come and learn more about the campaign to affiliate with SEIU and lift workers' wages and benefits above the poverty line. Currently full-time Chartwells workers make as little as $10,000/year. Landscaping and janitorial staff employed by UNICCO on campus, who unionized through SEIU after a long fight in 2006, earn on average $24,000 with health insurance.

Huffington Post piece about Chartwells workers at UM

This piece, by UM student Nick Swyter, appears in the Huffington Post Miami blog on March 11th.

Feb 22nd march on UM campus, by USAS

On February 22nd, on the UM campus, a large number of students from around the country, affiliated with United Students Against Sweatshops, came to march, to protest the working conditions of the food service workers at UM. These workers are trying to unionize, but Chartwells, the company with whom UM subcontracts, doesn't want to let them.