Entries Tagged 'Blogroll' ↓
February 17th, 2009 — Blogroll, Press Releases
As we celebrate Miami’s bicentennial and reflect upon its history, we may find much to take pride in. However, in order to build a better future we must also engage the less savory aspects of that history. In the past twenty years, the voices and interests of students, faculty and staff have been consistently undermined by “institutional” priorities designed to promote the Miami image while protecting university investments, contracts and endowments. Administrative voices have defined what is best for us, but their policies and decisions often seem at odds with the needs and values of our community. As we are increasingly encouraged to articulate and realize those values as members of an “engaged” university, we wonder why no one is listening.
A Brief History of Disempowerment
1989: Miami University illegally decertifies the union representing classified staff, AFSCME Local 209, denying the staff’s right to negotiate their contract.
1994: The Ohio Supreme Court finds MU guilty of unfair labor practices and orders the university to allow the union to negotiate.
1997: A study by the Mercer consulting firm reports that Miami University’s wages for classified staff are insufficient at 18-19% below market value.
2000: A survey conducted by the Classified Personnel Advisory Committee shows that a “majority of the participants expressed opinions that indicated a low level of morale, not only among themselves, but among the classified staff in general.” Morale among staff “is perceived to be low and worsening.”
2003: AFSCME Local 209 goes on strike after contract negotiations fall through.
A report from a state-appointed fact finder recommends wage increases of 20-25% based on market comparisons and the ability of MU to pay the increases.
Miami engages in corporate-style strike breaking (as documented by former Miami professor, William Wines) and the strike ends with a 4.25% wage increase.
2006: President Garland closes the Western College Program/School of Interdisciplinary Studies, despite outcry from students, faculty, and staff regarding the lack of due process and transparency.
2009: A study released by University Senate reports that, within the last decade, administrative salaries have risen more sharply than faculty salaries as the number of administrative positions has also significantly increased.
Beyond the Bicentennial
The continuing lack of democratic decision-making at Miami is evident in the administrative response to the current budget deficit. In the coming months, 100 Miami employees will lose their jobs while the remaining staff, many of whom are already overworked and underpaid, will find themselves under further strain. Meanwhile, graduate assistantships have been cut in Art Education, Communications, Spanish, and the Institute of Environmental Sciences.
We must imagine –and demand– an alternative Miami (OUR Miami) where students, faculty and staff alongside administrators work toward a common vision, a Miami based upon shared power and respect, where decisions and policies respond to the needs of community members. We must demand a change in the wage structure of our university, in which administrators presently earn some of the highest salaries and receive raises to match while faculty and staff take on an ever increasing workload. We must demand real power in the governance of our university, rather than settling for a voice which is solicited symbolically but consistently devalued and ignored.
December 25th, 2008 — Blogroll
In the last few weeks communities across the country have mobilized through actions and press conferences to support a People’s Bailout: federal action that supports and protects the jobs, homes, and health care of working people, not the exorbitant salaries and negligent behavior of CEOs! We are not waiting around for this, we are demanding it now, as evident in the renewed spirit of the labor movement. We’ve seen the inspiring dedication of workers who occupied Chicago Windows and Doors for six days until they successfully reached a settlement including severance pay and health care. Also, in Tar Heel N.C., after years of struggle against management workers at Smithfield Packing, the largest meatpacking plant in the world, voted to join the UFCW.
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.
December 9th, 2008 — Blogroll, Campaign News, Press Releases
The Miami Student. Dec. 9th, 2008
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.
September 8th, 2008 — Blogroll, Campaign News
A report recently published by the Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies uses self sufficiency standards to measure poverty in Ohio as an alternative to the problematic federal poverty line. According to these standards, a single parent with a preschooler and an infant in Butler County needs $46, 638 a year to meet the cost of living. Read more about this report in local newspapers
or see the full text
of the report.
September 5th, 2008 — Blogroll, Campaign News
To all of our student, faculty, and staff members, welcome back to Miami for Fall 2008! Our plans for this year include classroom presentations, a labor related film series, speakers, involvement in the Employee Free Choice Act campaign, and, as always, some action on campus.
Any singers, songwriters, or guitar players out there? We’d love to get the Student Labor Action Band going again!
If politics are more your thing, come help us get signatures for the Employee Free Choice Act to support the right of workers to organize.
Do you like writing? Come help out with our media and press exposure.
As you can see, there is a place for you in Students for Staff. If you are interested, come to a meeting, send us an email, or check out our table at Mega Fair from 1-5pm on Sunday Sept. 7th in Millet Hall.
April 25th, 2008 — Blogroll, Campaign News, Living Wage Movement, Press Releases
At a recent meeting (April 15th, 2008) with President Hodge, Students for Staff requested that Pres. Hodge make a personal commitment to implement our living wage proposal. His response? “No”
So, we asked him to designate a living wage as a fiscal priority. Again, he said “No”.
President Hodge has said that the staff are the heart and soul of the university but he won’t acknowledge that a living wage should be a priority!
What did he say at this meeting? “A living wage will be a part of the discussion during negotiations next year.”
That’s right, folks. Next year is union contract negotiations and we all need to be behind the staff 100% during this time. We won’t just make a living wage part of the discussion, we will make it part of the reality. Are you ready?
April 13th, 2008 — Blogroll, Campaign News
We’ve released the proposal for a Living Wage at Miami. Read it here!
This Tuesday at 10am, we are sending a delegation of students, faculty, and staff to President Hodge, asking him to implement a Living Wage at Miami. Do you want him to stop Miami from paying poverty wages? Then contact him:
Phone: (513) 529-2346
You are welcome to say the following:
“Hi, my name is _______. I am calling today to inform you of my support for the Living Wage proposal developed by Students For Staff. I believe that paying poverty wages at Miami is morally indefensible, and must stop immediately. I urge you, President Hodge, to agree to implement the Living Wage proposal at the April 15th meeting with Students For Staff.”
Continue reading →
April 3rd, 2008 — Blogroll, Campaign News
Thanks to everyone who came out to the rally. We estimate that about 80 people came, including students, faculty, staff and some supporters from Cincinnati. We rallied at Shriver Center with some great speakers, including three staff members who shared their stories. Then we marched to Roudebush (the administrative building) where we planted our proposal for a living wage policy and everyone put in their yard signs “For A Living Wage”. Again, thanks to everyone who came to the rally and helped us pull off a great event with an amazing amount of energy. We’ll see you on Tuesday April 8th at noon for our kickoff at the hub to mark the countdown until our meeting with President Hodge on April 15th.
March 30th, 2008 — Blogroll, Campaign News, Living Wage Movement
Join Students for Staff and other students around the NATION by participating in the 9th annual National Student Labor Week of Action.
WHAT’S HAPPENING ON OUR CAMPUS:
What: RALLY FOR A LIVING WAGE!
SFS will be releasing our proposal for a living wage policy, which will include the long-awaited living wage number!
Come hear staff members, professors, and students tell their stories, and show your support for a just wage policy at Miami and for workers around the nation.
Where: Shriver Patio
When: Wednesday, April 2nd at 5pm
Who: Hosted by Students for Staff and officially endorsed by the Miami Valley Jobs with Justice Coalition.
…We did this last year, and we’re doing it again, because OUR MIAMI IS BETTER THAN THIS!
February 4th, 2008 — Blogroll, Campaign News, Press Releases
On Tuesday, Students for Staff spoke with a full-time staff member at Miami who lives alone and provides for herself by working a second job. Recently, she woke up in the hospital—her blood sugar had plummeted overnight and the sudden drop almost killed her. Now she’s afraid to go to sleep. She broke her tailbone last year when a sudden drop in blood sugar caused her to fall, and she crashed her car when her blood sugar got so low that she nearly passed out.
An automatic insulin pump would be enough to prevent these incidents from ever happening again. She and her doctors are trying to get the pump covered through Miami’s insurance, but she’s been told it will likely be denied. The “market-competitive wages” from the “employer of choice” aren’t enough that she can afford the device herself. Even with the addition of a second job, she is still forced to choose between her proper medication and other basic necessities. These are the realities at the heart of our demand for a living wage.
Nevertheless, the university’s response to our concerns has been consistently clear: “not now, not here.” Most recently, at ASG’s Annual State of the Student Body Address, President Hodge said he was disappointed in us for bringing up “our” issue at yet another public forum. This comment followed a speech in which President Hodge commended students for embracing the issues that confront Oxford as a community. In response, we would like to inform President Hodge that poverty is a community issue, and, as community leaders, President Hodge and the administration have the responsibility to pay Miami’s hard-working staff what they deserve, not as little as Miami can get away with. Furthermore, the entire student body was invited to this event and encouraged to ask questions. It reflects poorly on our president’s commitment to community if one of the few student organizations that cared enough to come to the event was denigrated and condemned for voicing community concerns. We would like to inform President Hodge that community must emerge from collaboration and dialog; it doesn’t appear overnight with the construction of an $80 million bicentennial student center.
It is practically impossible to muster the excitement and enthusiasm President Hodge invoked in his discussion of plans for the bicentennial student center when you remember the full-time Miami staff who must live in extreme frugality because Miami refuses to pay them a fair wage.
If students’ concerns for local poverty and economic justice are consistently unwelcome at student forums and events, when and where will community finally be realized at Miami?