Workers On Campus
For the latest information, you can stop in at one of our meetings - Tuesday school days, 7:30pm, room 313 of the Shapiro Campus Center (the big green building).
This semester, spring 2009, the Brandeis Labor Coalition is starting up the worker biography project again for custodians in the freshmen residence halls. We hope to foster a sense of respect and community among incoming students for the custodians and the central work they do keeping students' living spaces clean.
The Brandeis Labor Coalition was formed around a two-tiered large disparity in the pay and benefits of custodial workers on campus. After a long battle for wage parity waged in the public eye on the Brandeis campus, the custodians and students won and all the subcontracted custodians were moved into the University's facilities bargaining unit.
Since then, the Labor Coalition's custodial campaigns have included, at various times, regular breaktime meetings and discussions with custodians over working conditions, weekly morning coffee meetings with custodians, a custodian biography project, and five times over five years, a barbecue on the Great Lawn where students serve custodians as thanks for their hard work.
Over the last two years (circa spring 2009, Brandeis Labor Coalition has met occasionally with dining workers to discuss workplace concerns. Researching whether there are issues in a workplace, how severe they are, and whether the traditional channels of solving them are functioning is key to understanding what kind of role the students can play in making sure the Brandeis community's dining workers are being served fairly.
The Labor Coalition has been glad to work with several UNITE-HERE organizers, many of them former members, when talking with dining workers and understanding their workplace.