Petition In Support of UNICCO employees at the University of Miami sign now

Petition In Support of UNICCO employees at the University of Miami

The University of Miami is more than a world-class university. It is also a leading institution in this community and, as such, should demonstrate moral leadership to some of the core problems facing Miami.

In a recent Worldwide Cost of Living survey, Miami was ranked as the city with the 5th highest cost of living in the United States. At the same time, Miami is consistently ranked as one of the poorest cities in the United States. Most observers recognize that one of the main causes of this problem is the low-paid jobs in Miami's service sector, which makes up the greatest percentage of employment in South Florida.

The more than 350 cleaners, landscapers, and painters who work for UNICCO at the University are more than the people who take out the trash, mow our lawn, and clean our bathrooms. They are mothers and fathers who go home from our world-class campus and struggle to pay their bills, keep up with their rent, and care for their families. Many are forced to take second or even third jobs to keep up.

By any definition, their wages fall well below what it takes to have a decent standard of living in Miami. Their most recent raises -- just 7 to 10 cents per hour for many workers -- fail to change the reality that many earn just over $50 a day. Their jobs provide no health insurance coverage. They have little paid time off, and no mechanism to ensure job security or respect while at work.

Several years ago, a study was released showing that UM janitors received the second-lowest wages out of 195 universities in the country. The University confronted this issue at that time, and made some limited improvements. But the core issue - whether or not the hard work of UNICCO employees will be honored with the dignity of fair wages and benefits - was left unresolved.

This time UNICCO workers are organizing to have their own voice in this debate, and to negotiate fairer wages and working conditions based on what they consider to be their most important needs.

As students and faculty at the University of Miami, we support their right to organize a union without fear of threats or reprisals and to negotiate a collective agreement that substantially improves their standard of living. We call on the administration and trustees of the University to do the same, and to commit to providing the necessary resources to make these changes possible.

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Greg PalmerBy:
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Administration of the University of Miami

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