Please come to the Green Economy Panel on Tuesday March 30th in Shideler Hall from 7-9pm. We will discuss how we can build an environmentally sustainable economy that provides good living wage jobs to support all workers and communities.
Panelists for the event include:
Robert Park, Cincinnati Blue-Green Alliance
Bryan McGannon, Repower America
Elisa Young, Meigs Citizens Action Now
Dan La Botz, Labor activist and author
This event is co-sponsored by Green Oxford and the Fair Labor Action Coalition and supported by the Western Inquiry Center. The Green Economy Panel is a Coal Week Event. See coalweek.org for more great events throughout the week!
Happy Holidays! If you are lucky enough to have a job or access to education and the opportunity to have some winter vacation time, I would encourage you to take an hour to increase your economic and political literacy. We are in a time of severe stratification and economic crisis, yet our government continue to misrepresent the needs of the working class, deny the rights of people facing race, gender, class, sexuality, age, and ability-based oppression, blame our unions for the problems rooted in corporate greed, and pathologize low-income families and unemployed folks. If you are not outraged, check out the resources below to learn more. We must educate ourselves on what matters because our education system and mainstream media are NOT going to do it for us. If ever there has been a time to raise some hell, the time is now! Complacency is not an option.
The Working Group on Extreme Inequality has released a new report on the nature of economic inequality in the United States, why it matters and what we can do about it. A couple examples; 23.5% of total US income goes to the top 1% of American households (this stratifaction has been INCREASING since 1976) and the income gap between white and black Americans has decreased only 3 cents on the dollar since 1968., putting us on track to achieve racial income equality in 537 years…
Check out the blog “Poverty and Policy” for regular analysis on how US policy affects working class and unemployed Americans.
Watch a short video to understand why official unemployment numbers actually miss millions of unemployed workers.
As you may have noticed, Students for Staff has undergone some changes recently and we are claiming a new name: Fair Labor Action Coalition (FLAC). This change reflects the diversity of labor issues we are now addressing from a local to a national scale, our desire to emphasize coalition building, and our renewed commitment to meet the challenges posed by the economic crisis.
Specifically, we will continue to work with Miami staff to place pressure on the administration to negotiate a fair contract with decent wages and benefits. However, we will also work in coalition with the bus drivers who are employed by the notoriously anti-labor company First Student and are currently negotiating their first union contract. In addition, grad student workers and professors are finding their labor rights threatened by the way Miami has handled budget cuts. Bringing the voices of these workers into our actions will strengthen our movement as a whole. Finally, we recognize that many of the labor issues in Oxford are connected with regional and national policies and economic structures which must be addressed.
The economic crisis and the corporate scramble to protect profits has had devastating effects on workers, their families and their communities. Furthermore, many people who experience multiple class, gender, race, sexuality, age, and ability based oppressions see “equal opportunity” slipping out of their fingers. When labor rights are not enforced and real wages fall, these workers are often at the highest risk. Even those who felt secure have found their power to be limited as administrators, governments officials, and corporate executives “restructure” jobs and lives with barely a nod to the voices of their employees.
We believe there are alternatives to the oppressive decisions made by our employers and our governments, that there are ALWAYS alternatives. By working together, we will have the resources and wisdom to find these alternatives and the willpower to make them our realities.
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.
Tell Cintas it’s time for a change! This October, we can make it happen! More than one-and-a-half years after a Cintas worker was killed on the job, the Cincinnati based company still hasn’t done enough to make its laundries safe. Join hundreds of injured Cintas workers, union members, and community allies at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in October.
What: RALLY TO MAKE CINTAS SAFE
When: OCTOBER 14, 2008 8:30am
Where: 6800 CINTAS BLVD., MASON, OH
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan to come. Transportation provided.
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.
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.
The SFS alumni have heard that it’s crunch time and they are getting organized. If you are a Miami alum, we need you now! Please sign the following petition and then email us if you want to get more involved
“Until Miami University implements a living wage policy as outlined in the Students for Staff Proposal for a Living Wage, we will withhold donations to the University. Additionally, we will encourage fellow alums and potential future donors to withhold contributions to a University that seems to love and honor the poverty wages it forces on the very workers that make it successful.
We will instead contribute our money to fund efforts by Miami students and workers to organize themselves to win a living wage for everyone employed by our alma mater.”