The union members of Faculty House, who have been in contentious contract negotiations for months, voted yesterday to authorize a strike. The full statement can be read below:
To the students, Faculty and the Administration of Columbia University; We the Local 100 Union members of the Faculty House have made a difficult & heartfelt decision to vote yes to a strike authorization; because Sheila Garvey continues to negotiate our contract in bad faith-a direct violation of the National Labor Relation Board and unfair Labor Practice. Sheila Garvey continues to discriminate against Columbia students participating in our contract negotiations. Sheila Garvey continues to deny requested access to Faculty House financial statements. Sheila Garvey has stolen our tips/gratuity/service charge. Sheila Garvey refuses to pay comparable living wage salary increases. Sheila Garvey continues to deny workers job classifications, adequate health insurance. Sheila Garvey insists that a $65.00 weekly stipend is adequate to feed our families.
For all these reasons and more we are desperately asking Faculty members to collaborate with students in solidarity to get the respect, appreciation, justice and monetary satisfaction we deserve.
Protesting via Shutterstock
@SWS supporter Faculty House workers are not “privileged” to receive stipends or whatever benefits they get. It is only conceivable to argue this in the midst of a context where it is the norm for working class people to receive abysmal compensation for their labor. “Unskilled” or undocumented people do not inherently “deserve” to earn less money or have less job security (etc…) than better-educated workers or those with legal residency. They are at the bottom end of a hierarchical economic system. If there were more strikes like this, perhaps things would be otherwise. The only privilege Faculty House workers have over similarly-placed working people is that they have a group of students who can help to pressure their bosses to negotiate in good faith. We can debate the extent to which this is beneficial for them, but it appears that student support has given workers a bit more leverage in this affair.
@Really Everyone? This is serious ok. If you think Columbia gives such great salaries then why don’t you ask the Faculty House workers (to their faces) why they haven’t had a raise in over a decade, and why they haven’t seen their fair share of the gratuity fees which Faculty House charges? While you’re at it, why don’t you, a Columbia student with no family to support, also ask them how hard it is to raise a family in NYC? The salaries which professors, public safety, maintenance, etc. receive are in no way connected. Each of these groups, including Faculty house, have separate contracts; however, that doesn’t mean that Columbia shouldn’t have at least a set minimum salary for these workers, and perhaps a minimum pay raise for work well done.
@Anonymous Columbia isn’t forcing them to work here…
@Fuck You Columbia 1/4 students in the graduating class of SEAS is from the 3+2 program. It is a scheme for rich people to get guaranteed admission into Columbia for only a 3.3 gpa at schools like kentucky state. The administration thinks they’re pulling a fast one on us. But we won’t stand for it any longer. They didnt accept these mediocre students in the first place to protect its stats, so why accept them later just to bolster funds? It hurts all of us. Especially, these sub-par imbeciles who don’t belong at Columbia.
We wont stand for this any longer. Thats why we should all go on strike against Columbia
@Grow Up Your high school GPA and SAT scores shouldn’t be how you view your self worth at this point.
@SEAS Student Most of the 3-2 students I know work way harder than a lot of the students who were accepted straight out of high school
@Anonymous That’s because they’re making up for not being that intelligent
@BSGS @Fuck You Columbia:
This is getting so old.
@thank God for Faculy House union and SWS we love you, oppressed Faculty House workers
-former Faculty House student worker
@Meal stipend? What’s a salary for if not to feed one’s family? Honestly, little love for the administration, but it seems lost on many of the people who work here how remarkable it is to be paid a manhattan living wage for the jobs that they do. But what’s the incentive to settle for what’s merely fair when you can tap into the guilt/aimlessness of the cu constituency that’s happy to squeeze a solidarity rally/protest in between classes? Everyone wins (except your classmates paying sky high tuition to subsidize inflated labor costs and mediocre facilities)!
@George Have you ever had a job in your life?
Have you ever had to pay for a family in NYC?
Have you ever had to work from 6AM to 10PM everyday?
Have you ever had to squeeze your entire family into a basement?
Have you ever lived without healthcare coverage?
If not, shut the hell up, you privileged asshole.
If you’re really serious, why don’t you go talk to a worker instead of pathetically complaining on a comment board? I’m sure they’d have some nice words for you.
@GS student Yes, yes, yes, no (admittedly), and yes. But more than half of those questions DON’T characterize Faculty House workers.
Indeed, if we’re going to start talking about “privilege,” then Faculty House is a pretty good place to start. Faculty House workers’ living wages (and family stipends, which are literally just a bonus from Columbia for happening to have children) are substantially better than what is paid to almost any other unskilled laborers in Manhattan. Maybe rather than selfishly trying to squeeze more money out of what we apparently believe to be the infinitely deep pockets of Columbia, we should focus on the tens of thousands of underpaid immigrant workers industries where they ACTUALLY don’t make a living wage, or have the “privilege” of overeducated Ivy League students to defend them from their keyboards.
@George You can’t say they don’t characterize Faculty House workers, if you haven’t even looked into it.
Additionally, SWS has supported abused undocumented workers as was the case in the Indus Valley campaign, which is now in court.
Please don’t speak if you haven’t done your research.
@lazy college senior If you’re really suggesting that someone with a different background than you is incapable of coming to an educated opinion on an issue they don’t have direct and immediate personal experience with, then I’ll either assume you’re a freshman, or that the core has woefully failed you.
@Check my privilege? Should I tip the person I check it with?
@I thought I wasn't confused about this but apparently I am. Just the Faculty House workers? Not all the Facilities workers of Columbia? I thought that’s what all the tumult was about. How many workers work at Faculty House and why is it such a separate entity that they have different standards of pay, etc.?
@George Different campus workers groups are represented by different unions-so they all have different contracts/rates.