Socialist Party of CT News

Support Weslyan Janitorial Staff!!!

Support Wesleyan's Janitorial Staff - Petition in Solidarity with Wesleyan's Janitorial Staff

  • Janitorial Staff have been forced to absorb massive and unrealistic workloads.
  • Many have health problems and repetitive stress injuries from their work
  • Many workers have been laid-off in recent months forcing the remaining workers to absorb their work.
  • Wesleyan can protect the workers by stopping the layoffs and requiring the sub-contractors to fairly distribute work.
  • Wesleyan workers should maintain the right to representation through a union.
  • The financial burden to Wesleyan of stopping layoffs is minuscule.

Wesleyan is accepting bids on February 15th from companies vieing for the contract to clean Wesleyan. RIGHT NOW, Wesleyan can require the sub-contractors to respect the workers.

Please sign this petition to stand in solidarity with Wesleyan's workers.

Every morning Lucia arrives to Wesleyan by 7AM. She puts on her powder blue uniform for ABM industries, gathers the mix of ammonia and off-yellow sponges and begins to scrub the entirety of Westco clean: the bathrooms, the kitchen, and the lounges. She takes out the many pounds of trash. Alone, this workload is massive. Recently, the kitchens of Nics 5 and 6 have been added to her daily routine. During her working hours, She has twice suffered a spinal displacement.

Yesterday, today and tomorrow she works through her injuries to keep Wesleyan clean and safe.

The workers on which Wesleyan depends deserve our respect. Wesleyan’s commitment to social responsibility must go beyond admissions flyers and parents' weekend speeches. It must extend to the workers and members of our community on whom we depend. These are the people who wake up at the crack of dawn, scrub our bathrooms, empty our trash, vacuum our hallways, and clean up the crumbs we leave behind in Usdan, and they do it all for very little pay and even less recognition.

Over the past several months the custodial workforce at Wesleyan has shrunk, and as a result, the remaining ABM janitors have been asked to take on increasingly unreasonable workloads.

There are now three workers who are responsible for cleaning all of the science complex when previously this job was done by five people. Another worker reported that she is now responsible for cleaning 10 different buildings across campus.

We appreciate Wesleyan’s attempt to mitigate these workloads. However, often these attempts are ineffective. Wesleyan recently decided that ABM workers should only pick up garbage from offices once a week. While appearing to lessen their workload, in reality, when workers do take out the trash, they are overwhelmed with moving an entire week’s worth of garbage in very little time.

Most of Wesleyan’s janitors are sub-contracted through ABM Industries. ABM’s contract expires in March, and Wesleyan is now accepting bids from ABM and 9 other companies for the new contract.

Wesleyan currently has a unique opportunity to protect these workers, just like it would defend the rights of any other members of our community. As Wesleyan considers bids from ABM and the other vendors, it is fully capable of contractually demanding of its sub-contractors a commitment to workers’ rights. If janitorial workers are to spend their days on campus with us, they should be entitled to the same level of respect and consideration that the rest of us enjoy.

As they prepare to sign a new contract, Wesleyan should make it a priority to reanalyze unrealistic workloads, stop unsustainable and shortsighted layoffs, and to maintain the workers’ right to unionize. These concerns will cost Wesleyan very little or nothing while greatly increasing the working conditions.

The deadline for the bids is this Wednesday, February 15. In the next couple of days, it is up to us as Wesleyan students to let the administration know that we stand with the janitorial workers.

We expect Wesleyan to protect and uphold the rights of its workers, consistent with and essential to its commitment to social justice.

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