Save the jobs and wages of Wittenberg Housekeepers
  • Petitioned Witt President Laurie M. Joyner & Board of Directors Chairman David Boyle

This petition was delivered to:

Witt President Laurie M. Joyner & Board of Directors Chairman David Boyle

Save the jobs and wages of Wittenberg Housekeepers

    1. Petition by

      Wittenberg University Sociology Club

As the University grapples with the need to reduce its budget deficit, it must also consider issues of reasonableness, fairness and even justice. One of the options being considered for debt reduction that in particular raises concerns about fairness is the recent request for bids to reduce the cost of housekeeping services.

Wittenberg University has solicited bids to cut the cost of housekeeping services below the amounts paid to the current contractor, ABM. The implications for the housekeeping staff are profound. If Wittenberg decides to go with a low-bidding contractor, the new company likely would provide starting pay of between $8.00 and $10.00 an hour – and most likely with little or no benefits. And there is no guarantee a new company even would hire the existing workers, some of whom have served Wittenberg for decades.

Hoping to keep their jobs and at least some basic benefits, the housekeeping employees and their union, the United Food and Commercial Workers, cooperated with ABM to develop a package of further concessions which allowed that company to come back with a competitive bid – $200,000 less than its original bid. If Wittenberg accepts ABM’s proposal – even though it may not be the very lowest bid the University has received – the longtime members of our housekeeping staff at least would keep their jobs and their health insurance coverage, which is provided through a UFCW benefit plan. In order to do this, the workers have agreed not only to forgo a promised wage increase but to take an actual pay cut, to reduce their paid sick days by half, to give up a holiday and to eliminate much of their vacation time. They have made these concessions because they are loyal to Wittenberg, because they simply cannot live on $8.00 to $10.00 an hour and because they likely will lose their health care coverage if ADM is no longer their employer.

It is unfair that this group of people at Wittenberg, who are mainly women and people of color and who already are low-wage workers, should once again have to take such cuts. However, it would be even more profoundly unjust for the University essentially to abandon them by contracting with a company whose bid is so low that many will become unemployed, uninsured and even impoverished. Such a decision would be unethical and out of line with the University mission and would further undermine Wittenberg’s public stature.

Additionally, the amount to be saved by trying to cut the housekeeping costs below even ABM’s new, concessionary bid would have little effect on the University’s bottom line and does not justify the harm it would do. Many of the faculty and staff support these workers and believe they deserve to remain at this University.

Please consider this matter seriously and compassionately by signing this petition urging the University to accept the current ABM bid so that our long-time housekeepers can be retained.

To:
Witt President Laurie M. Joyner & Board of Directors Chairman David Boyle
Save the jobs and wages of Wittenberg Housekeepers

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 250 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Nicole Clem SPRINGFIELD, OH
      • almost 2 years ago

      It breaks my heart that all of this is taking place at the school that taught me about the subtle mistreatment of already marginalized people. Students and professors are not the only people of value at Wittenberg.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Theresa Liszkay GAHANNA, OH
      • almost 2 years ago

      Witt always prides itself on being a part of the Springfield community. It's not worth alienating the city to save a few dollars.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Brian Marceau BREMERTON, WA
      • almost 2 years ago

      Where does outsourcing end? We should stop the race to the bottom and help workers keep livable wage jobs.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Rick LaGrandeur BREMERTON, WA
      • almost 2 years ago

      Because if we don't support our hard working citizens, how do we expect to support our country?

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Chris Cammack FORT WAYNE, IN
      • almost 2 years ago

      We love ABM and Mariam.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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