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Petition to Let the Greenhouse Workers Keep Their Jobs

This petition had 1,971 supporters

One of Wellesley’s points of pride, and deservedly so, are its greenhouses and botanical gardens. They reflect the care and commitment of the three long-term union employees, Tricia, David, and Tony, who have dedicated a combined 97 years of service to the College. Now Wellesley College has plans to remodel the greenhouses, and along with these plans comes the intention to remove these three union jobs. As they near retirement, the administration is planning to replace these employees with new “professionals” who possess master’s degrees.

According to the administration, despite the decades of work performed by these union employees, all three new positions require managerial or professional expertise, and there is no place in their grand reorganization scheme for the skills and labor that have made the greenhouses and botanical garden what they are today. Rebranding these jobs does not change the fact that union work will still need to be done: the grass will need to be mowed, the plants will need to be weeded, pests will need to be dealt with, and bushes and trees will need to be pruned. The college could have made an effort to include the union workers in their reorganization plans, given the depth of their knowledge and experience, and provided them an opportunity to gain whatever additional training will be needed. Instead, the administration announced its intention to terminate the three union positions, giving the affected employees only their contractual right to bump into unrelated jobs for which they are qualified, but have never worked, during the final years of their employment.

Not only are three members of the Wellesley family being replaced, but this restructuring of the greenhouse reflects a disturbing trend within the college, where loyal employees are being displaced and their jobs filled by non-union workers, whether managers, contractors, “casual” employees, or in this case “professionals.” The lives and service of union workers who have dedicated themselves to Wellesley College, and who make the campus a welcoming and comfortable home for students, no longer matter. The administration needs to realize that they cannot play around with people’s livelihoods for the sake of appearing more “professional.”

Wellesley SLAP and the Wellesley College Union demand that these three dedicated union workers retain their jobs. Tell Paula Johnson to stop unnecessary job shifts! Respect union workers!

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