Entries Tagged 'Press Releases' ↓
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 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.
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 10th, 2008 — Campaign News, Press Releases
On Monday, University Senate passed a resolution in support of a living wage for Miami’s full-time staff. While this resolution is non-binding, it does signify serious community support for a living wage policy at Miami. Specifically, University Senate urges President Hodge to implement a living wage at Miami.
U. Senate is made up of representatives of faculty, students, staff, and administrators.
Here’s an article about our resolution.
February 25th, 2008 — Campaign News, Press Releases
Today, we received a public letter of recognition from Sherrod Brown, U.S. Senator for Ohio:
Dear Members of Miami University Students for Staff,
Thank you for contacting me about Students for Staff at Miami University of Ohio. While I do not feel it is appropriate to endorse the efforts of a non-governmental body like yours, I do believe strongly in the mission you shared with me in your letter.
It is unacceptable that individuals caring for our university students are struggling to stay above the poverty line. I applaud your efforts to bring undergraduate students, graduate students, university alumni, and staff together to promote broad-based access to a living wage.
Your commitment to improving working conditions and the lives of workers is admirable. We must continue to push for a living wage for all of America’s hardworking men and women.
(View the signed letter.) Senator Brown’s views on a living wage and other issues can be found on his website.
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?
September 23rd, 2007 — Press Releases
Student Group Organizes Staff Day at Miami
Students for Staff, Miami University’s student organization advocating for fair wages for Miami employees, will hold an all day event to honor Miami workers on Wednesday, September 26th.
A day of events are scheduled in honor of Miami University’s full-time staff. Continue reading →