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LOCAL News :: Labor & Class : Protest Activity

TLSC, UE 160 Win Victory for W&M Housekeepers

Picture © The Flat Hat, 2006
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A protest planned by the Tidewater Labor Support Committee and the Virginia Public Service Workers Union (UE Local 160) turned into a victory celebration when the College of William and Mary's Office of Residence Life withdrew its plans to force housekeepers into a six-day workweek only one day before the scheduled rally.

"We were told that the six-day work week will probably still be implemented eventually, but the plan is currently suspended," Kim Lincoln of the TLSC told the Virginia Gazette. "We are still wary and will continue to support our housekeepers by showing we don't want this to happen."

Between 130 and 150 people, including at least 30 housekeepers, attended the November 29 event in the Crim Dell Meadow.

UE 160 had previously circulated a petition opposing the change. 55 of the College's 60 housekeepers signed it, but the Office of Residence Life dismissed their efforts, saying that those housekeepers unable to work on Saturdays could "find new jobs."

An anonymous housekeeper told the Flat Hat that the threat of student protest had left the administration few options: "I think they were forced to change their minds by the students."

Rally organizers stressed that the event was only one part of a broad effort to defend the rights of campus workers. In particular, they invited attendees to join their campaign for a university policy affirming the right to organize unions and bargain collectively.

"This is a great day for the labor movement," George Waksmunski, a field organizer for UE 160, told the DoG Street Journal. "We hope it is going to spark a movement for greater justice for all working people."
 
 


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