It’s nice to see UM students working to support the campus workers.
Union boostersUniversity of Miami students, better known for cheering sports teams than riling administrators, are putting unprecedented pressure on President Donna Shalala to improve conditions for about 400 janitors who struggle with low wages and no health insurance.
It’s an awkward position for Shalala, a public advocate of universal healthcare coverage when she was secretary of Health and Human Services in the Clinton administration. She is about to make UM, where tuition is $29,000 a year, the first university in Florida to raise $1 billion in a single campaign.
Despite that backdrop of wealth, many men and women who keep the private school’s grounds impeccable work for less than $7 an hour.
I should add, though, that from what I hear, this article in the Herald seriously understates the extent to which the UM administration has sought to prevent students from supporting the union drive. For example, when students were handing out water bottles to picketing workers, the administration accused them of holding an unregistered rally — which was true enough, as they were neither a registered student group, nor had gotten permission to rally — and then subjected the ringleaders to a pretty severe dressing down by senior administrators.
Plus, the Herald’s suggestion that President Shalala, one of nature’s controlling personalities, has a hands-off or even genially supportive attitude to the students strikes me as … unlikely.
And the quote from our associate dean (who does speak a bit Californian sometimes), makes her sound unfairly dopey.