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Justice for Janitors: No Cuts at Tufts!

This petition had 2,977 supporters

Tufts University is proposing to lay off as many as 35 janitors in early June, equivalent to 17% of the janitorial workforce. Janitors fear that if they are laid off, they would be unable to provide for their families. Furthermore, those that remain will be left with the added burden of an increased workload, intensely decreasing campus cleanliness. These workers are a vital part of the university and are as much a part of the community as the students and faculty.

Tufts students and faculty, the Medford and Somerville City Councils, and community organizations have strongly opposed the proposed janitorial cuts. Tufts Labor Coalition, a student group that advocates for fair working conditions at Tufts, has taken many actions throughout this year in conjunction with janitors, to prevent these cuts. Biweekly meetings with the administration, a community-wide forum, continuous student and worker protests, and a 33 hour sit-in of Tufts’ main administrative building have all fallen on deaf ears. The Tufts administration has failed to listen to the voices of the broader community and recognize the clear opposition to the proposed cuts.

Tufts claims their motivation for reducing the janitorial staff is to divert more funds toward improving academic resources. However, there are ways to achieve financial stability without destroying the livelihoods of community members. If Tufts follows through with the cuts, it will be putting profit before people. Many tax-paying corporations do this, but due to Tufts’ status as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, they are exempt from many of these taxes. Tufts uses community resources without doing its part to give back to their host communities. We expect Tufts to listen to the dissenting voices of the broader community and discontinue cuts.

Due to the administration’s persistent refusal to cooperate, five students are conducting an indefinite hunger strike, and dozens of students are occupying space adjacent to the administrative building. Furthermore, 20-40 people are fasting daily in solidarity with Tufts janitors. We are demanding that Tufts make no cuts to the janitorial staff until DTZ and the union representing the janitors renegotiate their contract in July of 2016. Show your solidarity by signing this petition to tell Tufts administrators to listen to its community and agree to no cuts!

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