However, the economic situation which has driven these actions remains bleak for many working families. At a press conference on Dec. 23rd, labor leaders and community members, including a delegate from Students for Staff, joined together in solidarity with the workers at the Dayton GM plant on the plant’s last day of operation. The closing of this facility represents the failure of our government to prioritize the needs of the working class during this economic crisis and, as a result, the Dayotn GM workers will join a growing mass of people facing this holiday season unemployed. In response, as part of the People’s Bailout, we demand demand job protection, health care, retirement security, a stop to evictions, the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act and long term, sustainable change to protect workers’ rights.
Entries from December 2008 ↓
December 25th, 2008 — Blogroll
When I first read Miami’s official statement on the current economic crisis, I remember predicting that those who could least afford to make sacrifices would end up bearing the brunt of the impact. Unfortunately, I have not been proven wrong. Miami employs a small number of part-time workers (not the same as student employees), the majority of whom work in residence halls. I recently learned that these part time employees have been put in a very difficult position which I would like to bring to the attention of the Miami community.
In general, these employees are at Miami because they are hoping to move into full-time positions and, in addition, several of them are supporting children. They receive no benefits from Miami and, as a result, some have no health insurance. For the past year, part-time employees have each worked approximately 30 hours per week. However, beginning in January, they will be reduced to 16 hours per week; this means that someone who was earning around $400 every two weeks will now be earning around $200 every two weeks. If Miami does decide to lay off employees within the next year, part time workers will likely lose their jobs. However, because unemployment is based on average earnings for the last 12 months, the cut in hours means that these employees will be eligible for significantly less money from unemployment than they might have been otherwise.
I understand that Miami is in a difficult position financially, but is dramatically reducing the hours of some of our lowest paid staff a solution in line with the values of our university? Is this a long-term solution to Miami’s history of wasteful spending? For perspective, approximately 300 Miami employees earn over $100,000 a year and they have not been asked to make sacrifices anywhere near what has been demanded of our staff whose wages already rest uncomfortably close to the poverty line. If Miami University’s initial responses to the financial crisis will seriously jeopardize the well being of part-time staff, we can only expect that future decisions will continue to disproportionately burden our lowest paid employees.