Les Schaffer schaffer at SPAMoptonline.net
Sat Apr 21 12:16:01 MDT 2001

[BOUNCE Non-member submission from [Cameron Brooks <governer at utk.edu>]]

Here is a concrete way for socialists to support the class struggle at the
University of Tennessee:

>===== Original Message From AllianceUTK-owner at yahoogroups.com =====
Please forward and distribute widely!!


The United Campus Workers (UCW) union needs your urgent action to save
housekeepers' jobs and quality campus services and to STOP UNION
BUSTING at the University of Tennessee!

UT bosses plan to bring workers from a private corporation, Service
Solutions, to be trained as housekeepers in the dorms. This is UT's
attempt to privatize the housekeeping department and stop the UCW from
continuing to organize for improved wages and working conditions for
all campus workers.

The UCW delivered a letter to UT President Wade Gilley on Thursday,
April 19.  They made four demands (below) and asked him to respond by
April 24.

Please call or e-mail Wade Gilley -- wade-gilley at utk.edu or (865)
974-2241 -- and demand that he answers the UCW and:

1. immediately stops plans to privatize campus services and pledges to
not allow any Service Solutions workers in dorms this spring or summer

2. initiates an immediate and aggressive drive to hire summer
housekeepers through UT's Human Resources Department and from other
University departments

3. works with UT housekeepers to design a more reasonable schedule of
summer conference

4. meets with the UCW to discuss these and other issues

Please act before Tuesday, April 24!  If UT bosses are successful in
privatizing housekeeping services:

* Union members and other workers will lose their jobs to Service
Solutions workers who are paid barely above minimum wage (even lower
than current UT employees) and receive no benefits

* Many UCW members' and other workers' retirement benefits will be threatened

* The quality of services in the dorms will plummet as our dedicated
housekeepers are replaced by inexperienced workers and bosses who
value profit over service

Already, UT President Gilley has broken his promises to the UCW, and
UT has privatized campus services and fired workers in the
past. Please help the UCW members save their jobs!

Wade Gilley's e-mail: wade-gilley at utk.edu His phone: (865) 974-2241

Please let us know if you recieve a response from Dr. Gilley or if you
have any questions or comments on the situation.

Thanks from Alliance for Hope, a student economic justice group at the
University of Tennessee hopeutk at utk.edu (865) 546-6721

Here is the letter that the UCW delivered to Gilley:

Dr. Gilley,

We are writing in regard to the staffing situation in the Housing
department this summer. We understand that there are plans to bring in
workers and/or supervisors from Service Solutions (SSC) to begin
training in the dorms as soon as the semester is over. This comes as a
shock and we are forced to see it as nothing less than a direct threat
to our jobs.

As you know, in our campaign last year to end the intolerable overwork
in Housing during the conference season, we stressed that there were
many ways to get the work done while improving conditions - without
any further privatization of UT jobs. Our solution included
rescheduling conferences in a more reasonable manner, making all
overtime strictly voluntary, hiring more workers, and implementing a
living wage. The administration finally did agree that overtime would
be voluntary, but failed to implement any of the other measures we

Instead, workers were asked to sign individual contracts specifying
how much, if any, overtime they would be willing to work during the
summer. We were assured by Housing administrators Mike West and Jim
Grubb that if all the work could not be covered by existing UT
custodians, they would recruit temporary summer help first through
Human Resources, then from other UT departments, and, as a last
resort, from SSC workers already working in other buildings on campus.

Although we found this arrangement to be far from perfect, it was much
more agreeable than continuing to work the brutal hours of forced
overtime workers have endured in the past. We also publicly expressed
our concern that including SSC in any plan was not acceptable.

West and Grubb reported being pleased with the results of the
contracts, telling us that workers had volunteered for more overtime
than they worked during the summer of 2000. As you might expect, we
thought that with the usual recruitment of temporary staff through
Human Resources, the use of UT workers from other departments, and a
slightly lighter conference schedule, there would be no problem
getting all the work done this year – making the use of SSC workers

However, we now find that the first two steps to hire summer help have
not been followed as promised. We have no evidence that there has been
any effort to recruit temporary workers through Human Resources or
from other UT departments.  Instead, it appears that the very first
step being taken is to bring in SSC workers to learn UT workers’ jobs!

Frankly, we feel that we have been betrayed and that this is the first
step towards contracting out all of Housing.

There is a long and ugly history of privatization on this campus that
only amplifies our fears and our anger. We remember the promises
broken when SSC (then Southeast Services) first set foot on campus. We
remember the workers who put in long years of service to the
University, only to show up at work to find their jobs were gone.

We also know SSC workers. We know that they get even lower wages than
UT staff and few, if any, benefits.

And we know all too well how it feels to work under the threat of
privatization for years and even decades. It now appears that all
those fears are coming true.

For these reasons and more, we are asking that you:

put an immediate stop to whatever privatization plans are in the works
and pledge that no Service Solution workers or supervisors be allowed
in any residence halls this spring or summer.

initiate an immediate and aggressive drive to hire workers through
Human Resources and from other UT departments. If SSC can hire enough
workers to do the job, UT can too.

work with Housing staff to design a more reasonable conference

meet with the UCW to discuss these and other issues. We have many
years of dedicated service at this University and we know our jobs and
our workplaces better than anyone. There is much we could contribute
towards making this campus a better place.

Due to the seriousness of this matter and the urgency of this threat
to our jobs, we must ask that you respond as soon as possible. You can
reach us at the phone number or email address below, or you may
respond through the Daily Beacon – however you see fit.

If we have not heard from you, we will send a delegation to your
office on Tuesday, April 24 at noon to get a response in person.

On behalf of the United Campus Workers,

Sandra Hicks, Co-chair                  Ernestine Robinson, Co-chair

P.O. Box 16010
Knoxville, TN 37996
Call Dave McClure at (865) 546-6721
Or e-mail: ucw at postmark.net

Alliance for Hope, a University of Tennessee Student Economic Justice Group
A Member of the Council for a Living Wage and Worker Justice at UT
(865) 546-6721
Email:  hopeutk at utk.edu
Alliance webpage:  http://web.utk.edu/~hopeutk
United Campus Worker webpage:  http://www.korrnet.org/ucw

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