What the UChicago administration doesn't want you to know

<p>The campus clerical, maintenance, and service workers are currently renegotiating their contract with the university. Three weeks ago, the university administration offered workers a miserable yearly increase of 1%. To put this into perspective, the last contract these workers have signed with the university gave them annual cost of living increases of 4%, 3%, and 3% respectively. The University has also cut the hours of housing staff to 35/week. </p>

<p>At the same time that they have called such cuts a necessary evil, administrators have acknowledged that they themselves have taken no cuts in hours or pay. While President Zimmer continues to make a nearly $1 million salary, staff have lost their jobs or been forced to take second jobs in light of the hour cuts. The University continues to pursue an allocation of financial resources that prioritizes administration, needless construction projects, and University-donor relationships at the expense the staff (and students) that keep this institution running.</p>

<p>Thankfully, UChicago Clerical, Maintenance, and Service workers have rejected this contract with a strong 95% no-vote. Undergraduates, graduates, faculty, and workers across campus would all like to show their support for with these workers with the following YouTube</a> - UChicago IN:60 </p>

<p>If anybody would like more details on what the university is currently trying to deny it's workers:</p>

<li>Yearly wage increases of at least 4% to keep up with the cost of living over the next 3 years. </li>
<li>A just procedure that allows laid-off workers to apply for any University job that they are qualified for. As the recent lay-offs all over campus have shown, the job security guarantees currently in place are woefully inadequate. </li>
<li>A reclassification of the lowest paid workers on campus based on their long service to the University. Many long-time employees have been stuck in an underpaying wage bracket despite their years of service.</li>
<li>A set timeline for the University to respond to workers grievances. Currently, workers complaints about management harassment can get stuck in a process that drags on for months.
*A restoration of the 40 hour work week. Last spring, the university responded to the financial crisis by cutting the hours of service and maintenance workers to 35 per week. Zimmer has since announced that the budget crisis is over and has resumed work on superficial gardening projects. Why then is he still forcing this difficulty upon campus workers?</li>

<p>To get updates on future events, email <a href="mailto:soul.uchicago@gmail.com">soul.uchicago@gmail.com</a> . To learn more, visit Home</a> | Students Organizing United with Labor </p>

<p>Let me know below if you have any questions</p>

<p>According to the US government, the cost of living didn't significantly rise last year, which is why social security benefits weren't adjusted. The average pay for an instructor at UChicago this year went DOWN from $56.7k to $55.1k. Everyone is paying for the recession (and my parents have personally taken more than 10% CUTS in their pay over the past year), and you're complaining because staff workers are only getting a pay bump of 1%? Give it a rest, guy.</p>

<p>Also, the gardening you mentioned was funded by an alumnus, which is why it's NAMED after that particular alumnus. And unnecessary construction projects? You mean the Mansueto Library? That's also supported by an alumnus, not to mention that we don't have enough space on campus to keep our books anymore...</p>

<p>Thanks for your response phuriku, but there are a few points which I think I should've made in the original post. I think these should settle your concerns with my first post.</p>

<p>First of all, this is a 4 year contract. Regarding the 1% cost of living increase, sure, this year it shouldn't be an issue. However, if 1% is all workers get for cost of living increases, then they are effectively going to end up with a pay decrease over the course of their four year contract.</p>

<p>Second, this classification of university staff hasn't had a real wage increase in 20 years. The only adjustments they have had within that time have been cost of living increases, so that their wages haven't dropped with inflation. In addition, this past year they were subject to an hour cut to 35 hours per week. To say that these staff are earning too much already is ridiculous.</p>

<p>Finally, this is still very much an issue of university priorities. President Zimmer is currently being paid over $1,000,000 a year. Meanwhile, he says that the university 'does not have the funds' to offer their workers a fair contract. The same goes with the construction projects which were put on hold during the worst of the financial crisis, until President Zimmer declared that the crisis was over, that professor hiring freezes would end, and that construction projects would resume.</p>

<p>What a great opportunity. Eric, are you getting any financial aid? If so, refuse it, so the university has more money to spend. In fact, everyone -- forgo your financial aid and help give raises to people. What? That would be unreasonable? Well, right now, it is unreasonable to expect material increases in pay just for being employed. Merit raises are one thing, but cost of living are another. They should be thrilled having a contract that guarantees their employment. Few people in the "real world" have that. When unemployment is low, then workers have the bargaining power to demand higher raises. Conversely, where unemployment is so high, those with jobs generally cannot force pay concessions (at least, without the help of others, such as you, Eric, trying to bring external pressure to bear on the employer).</p>

<p>"Well, right now, it is unreasonable to expect material increases in pay just for being employed. Merit raises are one thing, but cost of living are another."</p>

<p>Cost of living adjustments are meant to keep incomes in line without inflation. These exist in all sectors; without them, real wages go down.</p>

<p>"They should be thrilled having a contract that guarantees their employment."</p>

<p>The problem is, they don't have this. Last spring, there was a 12.5% hour cut for these employees. The negotiating committee is currently asking for that time back. President Zimmer has stated that the university's budget crisis is over, and that expansion projects can resume.</p>

<p>I just think on this forum and on the facebook class of 2014 it would be nice to let these kids be excited about UofC for a couple of months without airing the dirty laundry. You all can educate them on these issues when they get there. These kids have worked hard, their heads are already spinning with final exams and they are anticipating huge changes in the fall. Let them enjoy a little bliss before reality sets in!</p>

<p>Yeah I can't blame you jugglingitall. Let me just say, I love UChicago and you guys will be glad you decided to come. I just imagine that some portion of prospective students will be interested in these matters, and if they are it'd be great if they could take a few seconds to let the admin know The</a> UofC Community Supports Campus Workers! The admin has an uncanny ability to listen to prospective undergrads, when it seems to have trouble doing the same with its current students :)</p>

<p>Ah, the memories! My senior year at another college (in another century) was disrupted by a blue-collar strike. I was a diehard apologist for the administration -- I actually was a student rep on a budget oversight committee -- and my future spouse was engaging in pro-union sit-ins. Good times!</p>

<p>Haha we've got to get your spouse onto this thread. May I ask, what are you up to perusing the UChicago forum?</p>

<p>And I should say, your college had a much larger struggle going on. We haven't had any sit-ins, this is the largest thing students have been involved with YouTube</a> - UChicago IN:60</p>

<li><p>One kid there, one kid a recent graduate.</p></li>
<li><p>Support for the union was a pretty minority position among students at my college back then. The economic circumstances then were very challenging, too -- there was still the lingering post-Vietnam recession/"stagflation", endowments were a tiny fraction of what they are today. All kinds of maintenance were being deferred, very little construction happening, and the faculty was being shrunk. Apart from people who were reflexively hostile to unions on class or political grounds, lots of students resented anything that would raise their tuitions or divert resources from academic uses.</p></li>

<p>I just hope that the administration can stop digging up nicely paved sidewalks. Absolutely unnecessary...</p>