Faculty House Workers Ratify New Contract

Written by


And miles to go before I sleep

After months of protests and debates, Faculty House workers have signed a new contract.  The 4-year contract has not yet been released, but SWS assures that is makes positive strides toward better treatment for the workers.  However, there is still a battle to be fought–“it fails to address other of the workers’ complaints, such as increase of the meager stipend they receive over mandatory breaks every summer, job misclassification, and stolen tips.” SWS has sent a letter to several “key administrators” (update: Prezbo and Scott Wright) about the injustices still at hand.

Update, 5:40 pm: SWS has released some details on the new contract:

  • $1000 lump sum to each worker in 2013, $500 to each worker in 2014
  • Additional lump sums in 2013 for workers who have been working over 10 years
  • Maintained current healthcare plans rather than shifting healthcare cost increases to the workers
  • Gratuity/Service Charge language replaced by voluntary tip option; all retroactive stolen tips being dealt with in class action lawsuit
  • 1.5% wage increase for all porters this year
  • 2% wage increase in 2014 for all workers
  • 2% summer employment stipend increase, effective 2015

The letter SWS sent to Prezbo and Scott Wright:

We come to you today as Columbia and Barnard students who have seen the mission of our university deeply betrayed.

In the classroom, we learn about justice, human dignity, and equality for all. But over the last semester of fighting alongside the Faculty House workers, we’ve seen that the very university that taught us these values fails utterly and completely to enact them in their interactions with the most vulnerable members of the Columbia community.

We’ve seen Columbia refuse to pay a few extra cents every hour to these hardworking members of our community, while at the same time reaping profits of hundreds of thousands of dollars off their work.

We’ve heard Columbia negotiators employ blatant racism to justify poverty wages.

We’ve read contracts in which Columbia deceives its guests into thinking that workers receive reasonable tips.
And above all, we’ve felt a total disconnect between what we learn in the classroom and the way our university is organized.

No longer can we talk about injustice in Lit Hum and CC while simultaneously ignoring the fact that the people who are paid to do the hard work of running this institution must work 80 hours a week to support their families—and the people who are paid to sit in offices and calculate ways to underpay those under them receive massive bonuses every year.

Today, the Faculty House workers will sign a contract with the university. The contract is settled, but Student-Worker Solidarity is here to stay.

Every time workers negotiate a contract with the university, SWS will be there.

Every time workers without a union want collective representation, SWS will be there.

Every time Columbia or any other company violates labor law, SWS will be there.

See you soon!

Will the protests ever end via Shutterstock

Tags: , , , , ,


  1. Anonymous  

    That's a great letter.

  2. Anon

    awesome, awesome, awesome to see.

    but - SWS has clearly done a lot and is an important part of this fight. But I'm not sure why they are the only ones quoted in this article. As far as I understand, they are allies and activists, not representatives of the faculty house workers.

  3. Anonymous  

    What is wrong with a system in which labour is bought and sold freely?

  4. alumnus

    Now you know why your student life fees go up every year.

  5. Maida Rosenstein

    Thanks SWS for doing such a great job supporting campus workers and fighting for a more democratic, just university!

© 2006-2015 Blue and White Publishing Inc.