Pledge Not to Donate to Wes: Five More Workers Now!
Over the past year, custodians and students in the United Student/Labor Action Coalition (USLAC), a labor solidarity group at Wesleyan, have been advocating for the hiring of five more custodial workers. After 2012, when Wesleyan shifted custodial operations to the subcontractor Sun Services, now called Sun Management Group (SMG), working conditions for campus custodians worsened dramatically. Between 2012 and 2014, Wesleyan reduced its custodial staff from 60 to 50 workers, resulting in an unreasonable increase in their workloads. Many janitors now have to clean so much space that that cannot take breaks during their shifts. In the fall of 2018, we delivered petitions signed by over 1,100 current students calling on Wesleyan to hire five more custodians to end unjust workloads. Students then met with President Roth multiple times to vocalize the workers’ needs. Even so, Wesleyan’s administration has continued to turn a blind eye to unreasonable workloads.
This spring, students engaged in a series of non-violent direct actions demanding that the problem of overwork on this campus be resolved. Still, Wesleyan refused, claiming that there is a lack of data to show that workloads are unreasonable, despite janitors providing evidence to the contrary. Moreover, the administration threatened student protestors with suspension and summoned the Middletown Police Department to intimidate peaceful protestors.
Wesleyan and SMG are currently under investigation by the National Labor Relations Board for violating federal labor law. As of last month, seven janitors have additionally filed grievances with their union reporting a violation of Article 10 of their union contract: “No employee should be assigned an unreasonable workload.” More workers are planning to file grievances in the near future.
Over the past semester, Wesleyan custodians have received support from students, alumni, staff, faculty, two members of the US House of Representatives, grassroots organizations, clerical workers, maintenance staff, food service employees, and janitors, leading to a movement that extends far beyond campus.
Given Wesleyan’s refusal to end unjust workloads, we are calling on alumni, parents, and students to withhold donations to the university until five more workers are hired. By signing this petition, you are pledging not to donate until workers’ demands are met. In doing so, you stand in solidarity with Wesleyan’s custodial workers by joining our growing movement. For updates on the Five More Workers campaign, check out USLAC on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WesleyanUSLAC/.
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