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The past few decades have not been kind to low income individuals. This reality is largely a product of constant assaults against the value of such persons, depreciating real wages, removal of benefits and destruction of job security. Material exploitation hardly stands alone, however, as the war being waged against working class people is greatly impacted by racist, transphobic and sexist structures (among others) that together especially disadvantage poor folks, people of color, and women.
Macalester is largely complicit in how the broader inter workings of economic and social forces further perpetuates unstable work environments for many workers on campus. They regularly face the threat of being let go at any moment and have to work in unsatisfactory conditions while being paid lower than the minimum wage. Our standard of ethical behavior far exceeds the present reality, which we feel contradicts the values of the Macalester community. In response to this, we advocate for a few policy shifts that will start to create a better economic and labor environment on campus: $15 an hour for all workers on Macalester’s campus, financial transparency from the administration regarding policies towards labor, and fairness when dealing with labor on campus.
Despite problems elsewhere in this country and the world, we cannot ignore fundamentally unfair and exploitative practices on our own campus. The public image of Macalester as a progressive institution, and the existence of more abhorrent practices elsewhere do not excuse unjust policies in our own community. We know that conditions can get better and this is the perfect time to enact change. The current dining hall contract expires at the end of the 2018-2019 school year, presenting an ideal opportunity to advocate for workers on Macalester’s campus and ensure that they are guaranteed the benefits and protection they deserve in the next contract. To begin this process, we present the following agenda:
1. Public forum on the conditions of, and policies towards, workers at Macalester College and status of the upcoming contract negotiation with Dining Hall providers.
2. All subcontracted workers to be paid at least $15 dollars an hour following contract negotiation with future dining hall providers.
3. Student (or other 3rd party) representative on the contract negotiation council.
4. Macalester administration must increase its financial transparency with regards to all labor on campus.
We look forward to working with administration in the very near future to set these actions in motion. We will continue this work until we have created a culture where fair treatment, adequate job security and livable wages are not only universally encouraged on campus, but expected.
Read the full text of our letter to the administration here: https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/48642b5b-8d0d-49e9-8481-3e7eea0e9bc3
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