Business as usual?
On Monday of this week, 108 low-wage janitors, groundskeepers, and maintenance workers at Nova Southeastern University were thrown out of their jobs. This turn of events comes after the workers fought a year-long campaign for a decent paycheck, affordable health insurance, and the democratic right to form a union.
The some 350 workers at Nova have been living in fear that they would lose their jobs for speaking up in search of respect in the workplace since they voted and won a union last October. It was clear from that very day that Nova had no intention of improving the lives of those cleaning and maintaining its campuses, and instead announced they would cancel their decade long contract with UNICCO Services Company. Nova instead brought in multiple companies in a “divide and conquer” strategy to defeat the workers’ spirit.
What Nova and its president, Ray Ferrero, have done to these mostly minority workers and their families is morally repugnant. While some 130 other workers who did retain their jobs will benefit from fairer salaries and health benefits, most of those that fought long and hard to win those improvements will be in the unemployment line, seeking government assistance to survive.
Nova brought in multiple contractors and new evidence indicates that Nova directly instructed them on how many of the current employees they could rehire. In response the workers and union asked the NLRB for an injunction against Nova in such egregious acts of discriminatory hiring practices.
Over 50 of those turned away Monday morning were Haitian, and most of the high profile union supporters were told there were no jobs available to them. At least 8 couples are now both out of jobs, and for families living paycheck-to-paycheck this can send them into a very dangerous situation for their children, their health, and their safety.
Fritz and Marie Hector were both turned away from their jobs on Monday. They support 3 children at home.
This ain’t The South any longer Ray…
Community supporters, elected officials and clergy have shown their outrage and continue to call on Nova to rehire all the workers. Catholic Charities of Broward started an emergency fund for the families, a food bank opened its doors for the workers, and the South WorkForce Center held a special job fair for those fired.
Over a dozen of the workers traveled to Tallahassee and spoke with state legislators on Thursday. Not that Ferrero listens or cares- he has turned Congresswoman Debbie Wasseman-Schultz away from his office and ignored the letters, calls, work-days, and rallies that plenty of elected officials supported.
Check out the Michael Mayo’s coverage here as workers were turned away at the door.
Miami Herald columnist Ana Menedez calls out Nova for union busting.