Every morning Lucia arrives to Wesleyan by 7 a.m. She puts on her powder blue uniform for ABM Industries, gathers the mix of ammonia and off-yellow sponges and begins to scrub the entirety of WestCo clean: the bathrooms, the kitchen, and the lounges. She takes out the many pounds of trash. Alone, this workload is massive. Recently, the kitchens of Nics 5 and 6 have been added to her daily routine. During her working hours, she has twice suffered a spinal displacement. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow she works through her injuries to keep Wesleyan clean and safe.
The workers on which Wesleyan depends deserve our respect. Wesleyan’s commitment to social responsibility must go beyond admissions flyers and parents’ weekend speeches. It must extend to the workers and members of our community on whom we depend. These are the people who wake up at the crack of dawn, scrub our bathrooms, empty our trash, vacuum our hallways, and clean up the crumbs we leave behind in Usdan, and they do it all for very little pay and even less recognition.
Over the past several months the custodial workforce at Wesleyan has shrunk, and as a result, the remaining ABM janitors have been asked to take on increasingly unreasonable workloads. There are now three workers who are responsible for cleaning all of the science complex when previously this job was done by five people. Another worker reported that she is now responsible for cleaning 10 different buildings across campus.
We appreciate Wesleyan’s attempt to mitigate these workloads. However, often these attempts are ineffective. Wesleyan recently decided that ABM workers should only pick up garbage from offices once a week. While appearing to lessen their workload, in reality, when workers do take out the trash, they are overwhelmed with moving an entire week’s worth of garbage in very little time.
Most of Wesleyan’s janitors are sub-contracted through ABM Industries. ABM’s contract expires in March, and Wesleyan is now accepting bids from ABM and 9 other companies for the new contract.
Wesleyan currently has a unique opportunity to protect these workers, just like it would defend the rights of any other members of our community. As Wesleyan considers bids from ABM and the other vendors, it is fully capable of contractually demanding of its sub-contractors a commitment to workers’ rights. If janitorial workers are to spend their days on campus with us, they should be entitled to the same level of respect and consideration that the rest of us enjoy.
As they prepare to sign a new contract, Wesleyan should make it a priority to reanalyze unrealistic workloads, stop unsustainable and shortsighted layoffs, and to maintain the workers’ right to unionize. These concerns will cost Wesleyan very little or nothing while greatly increasing the working conditions.
The deadline for the bids is this Wednesday, February 15. In the next couple of days, it is up to us as Wesleyan students to let the administration know that we stand with the janitorial workers. We expect Wesleyan to protect and uphold the rights of its workers, consistent with and essential to its commitment to social justice.
Natalia Manetti-Lax, Tali Robbins, Ague Ortega, Michael Linden, Emma Kemler, Ross Levin, Mica Taliaferro, Virgil Taylor, Will Wiebe, Aron Chilewich, James Carter, Daniel Plafker, Marjorie Hunt, Tennessee Mowrey, Connor McElwee, Kayla Stoler, Denisse Reyes, Rebecca Wilton, Tai Balam, Dupree Tan, Andy Gottlieb, Roxanna Pell, Haley Fowler, Madeleine Stern, Jim Fellows, Adin Vaewsorn, Samira Siddique, Dorisol Inoa, Nathan Repasz, Calhoun L Hickox, Annie Choi, Isabella Ross. Jacob Feder, Laiya Ackman, Laura Cohen, Glamildi Rondon, Alma Sanchez-Eppler, Esthefany Castillo, Holly Everett, Penina Kessler, Victoria Mathieson, Alyssa Lanz, Aaron Plave, Alyssa Bonneau, Olivia Alperstein, Emma Compton, Zach Dravis, Wyatt J Hodgson, Daniel Goldman, Lila Murphy, Olivia May, Anders Dohlman, Judhanny Garcia, Harry Ezratty, Aaron Stern, Leib Sutcher , Jordan Ruttenberg. Nina Gerona, Katherine McLaughlin, Alex Cantrell, Konnie Dominguez, Arnoldys Stengel, Elita Irving, Fernando Morillo, Ben Florsheim, Camila Rodriguez, Gabriela De Golia, Chantaneice Kitt, Matthew Winslow, Emma Dominguez, Zak Kirwood, Jiovani Robles, Phabinly Gabriel, Jeremy Keim-Shenk, Anika Amin, Matt Motta, Cheryl Walker, Dara Robinson, Casey Feldman, Maurice Hurd, Emily M Sheehan, Maggie Cohen, Achira Sheth-Shah, Marianna Ilagan, Tasmiah Khan , Sophia Hussain, Haley Baron, Alahna Watson, Miles Cornwall, Joseph Ringoen, Rizky Rahadianto, Alec Henry, Max Owen-Dunow, Chazelle Rhoden, Renee Dunn, Polina Mamut, Meiyi Cheng, Carina Caligiuri Kurban, Allegra Stout, Alex Lamb, Ellen Lesser, Erika Siegel, Jacqueline Soro, Jill Jie’en Tan, Natasha Phillips, Manon Lefèvre, Sarah Bartholomew, Pablo Liang, Sophie Massey, Grace Powell, Daisy Bermudez, Mark Nakhla, Molly Dengler, Melody Oliphant, Greg Shaheen, Sandy Leung, Nathaniel Brown, Jessica Spates, Nica Latto, Louis Taylor, Julian Theseira, James Hall, Tara Hoda, Aviva Markowitz, Deborah Cho, Gabriel Castanon, Nick Petrie, Ben Doernberg, Janika Oza, Joyous Bey, Jenessa Duncombe, JinGe Yu, Daphna Spivack , Rachel Hirsch, Gladys Sosa, Christopher Martinson, Julissa Peña, Olivia Chavez, Ariel Schwartz, Maya Bery, Melanie Cherng, Claire Dougherty, Sam Silver, Brent Packer, Alaina Aristide, Erin Kelly, Caroline Conrad, Oriana Ott, Clara Peretz, Kevin Walters, David Barach, Diana Edwards, Molly Deustch-Feldman, Scott Elias, Lief Friedrichs, Maggie Feldman-Piltch, Noah Citron, Stephanie Diaz, Sonia Zavala, Rebecca Caspar-Johnson, Maxwell DeLott, Lynna Zhong, Sarah Lamming, Julia Christie, Nathaniel Leich, Leslie Pyne, Lily Myers, Yatta Zoker, Jeffrey Paul, Ryan Pruitt, Lila Becker, Deborah Mi, Randyl Wilkerson, Chloe Coates, Sandy Yudhistira, Emily Hoge, Quinta Jurecic, Jennifer Liebschutz, Noa Borkan, Sari Feldman, Adriane Berenson, Delphine Starr, Hannah Rubin, Julia Marroquin-Ceron, Caroline Catlin, Rina Kremer, Ryan Sheldon, Rachel Leicher, Kathryn Hardt, Eliana Theodorou, Shauna Pratt, Lydia Rex, Ibironke Otusile, Samantha Sikder, Arianna Fishman, Lisa Sy, Rebecca Koppel, Michael Nelson, Oliver James, Catherine Morita, Julia Vermeulen, Austen Fiora, Andrés Olmedo Orejuela, Kerry Nix, Noah Klein-Markman, WIll Fesperman. Rachel Santiago, Willa Beckman, Andrew Ribner, Olivia Horton, Belinda Davis, Will Fesperman, Hannah Vogel Joseph O’Donnell, Rosario Chavez, Bob Due, Charlotte Heyrman, Sarah Sculnick, Taylor Goodstein, Maxwell Hellman, Lila Frisher, Miriam Olenick, Katherine Gibbel, Luz Rivera, Randy Arthur, Amy Lindland, Silvie Senauke, Janet Cushey, Hichem Hadjeres, Ashlin Aronin, Trisha Batchoo, Eli Hetko, Nathaniel Dolton-Thornton, Solomon Billinkoff, Hana Elion, Matthew Younger, Daniel Greenberg, David Mai, Leung You Rong Michael, Yi Hui Lin, Anwar Batte, Hannah Monk, Cassandra Garvin, Elizabeth Wojnar, Elaine Chan, Anne Rosenthal, Ceili Brennan, Fritzlaine Roche, Jagadesh Mudapaka, Mariana Quinn-Makwai, Evita Rodriguez, Sewon Kang, Katharine Evans, Cornelia Lorentzen, Sara Rosenberg, Jason Kilbourne, Nikolas Owens, Rebecca Rubenstein, Julia Drachman, Leslie Egbo, Olayinka Lawal, Cesar A. Chavez, Emily Bernstein, Michele Le, Andrew Heimowitz, James J Pangilinan, Grace Bomann, Katherine Ida Halper, Joshua Krugman, Nicole Babbitt, Nicole Okai, Hailey Sowden, Katherine Marinaccio, Sarah Lerman-Sinkoff, Jesse Ross-Silverman, Amanda Sonnenschein. Lana Lana Brenda Li, Tamar Charles, Raphael Linden, Samantha Maldonado, Eric Stephen, Elise Blanchard, Alicia Gansley, Brianna Parsons, Rebecca Lange, Will Feinstein, Cordelia Blanchard, George Gore, Elizabeth Sallee, Joanna Florento, Darshdeep Hora, Avery Peyton, Isaac Madwed, Noelle Hiam, Katrina Smith-Mannschott, Vanessa Carvajal, Gustav Gregor, Nick Buffie, Amy Davis, Joel Hochman, Dana Louie, Julia Black, Sisi Miteva, Carrie Schiff, Zain Alam, Molly Hanessian, Carmen Yip, Catherine Aker, Julia Mark, Junsik Matthew Lee, Rachel Silton, Steve Petrie, Chelsie Green, Emma Daniels, LaNell Williams, Sam Lyons, Jason Shatz, Cory Meara-Bainbridge, Adam Bresgi, Bianca Marquez, Rose Cheng, Cynthia Tong, Jahanara Alamgir, Elizabeth Steiner, Danielle Pruitt, Sam Oriach, Kristie Cruz, Hope Campbell Gustafson, Kelsey Siegel , Madeleine Carroll, Sophia Duncan, D’or Seifer, Sydney Hausman-Cohen, Mariama Eversley, Abel Antonio Sandoval, Abaye Steinmetz-Silber, Eoin Callery, Lilah Sloane, Menherit Goodwyn, Gemma Lagna Doll-Grossman, Jesse Humm, Melanie Koren, Ambrosia Smith, Christina Pham, Paul Silverman, Lindsey Grimes, Jessica Gorak, James Kwon, Lotus Thomas, Miriam Kudler-Flam, Siyou Tan, Henry Molofsky, David Preddy, Zaida Garcia, Alexa Crawford, AhDream Smith, Justine McCullum, Portia Lundie, Nicole Gray, Akua Murray-Adoboe, Angela Goldberg, Dru Marion, Seina Jethmalani, James Gardner, Chi Le, Surendra Kunwar, Daniel Kennedy, Cristabel Tan, Khari Slaughter, Alicia Castagno, Dorothy Ajayi, Katherine Du, Francesca Moree, Rachel Bedick, Deena Godfrey, Sabina Wahl, Hannah Korevaar, Dan Fischer, Corey Guilmette, Rachel Lim, Penny Githens, Mikako Tai, Hannah Cressy, Sarah Koppelkam, Xi Liu, Alicia Gansley, Rachel Fifer, Emilie Sinkler, Hilary Hobel, Claire Palmer, Jenny Huang, Sarah Cassel, Emma Weizenbaum, Iliana Ortega, Daniel Frohman, Hannah Adams, Emily Weitzman, Tyler Rioff, Sora Akiyoshi , Ben Purinton, Prince Emenalo, Sophia Riffkin, Jon Lubeck, William Mendoza, Jeff Berman, Ben Hartung, Allison Greenwald, Monica Leslie, Julia Jonas-Day, Landon Pasby, Michelle García Gutiérrez, Daisey Perez, Katherine Lu, Nicole Gerszberg, Savannah Turner, Hilary Rappaport, Claire Whitehouse, M Fernandez, Melgily Valdez, Eden Engel-Rebitzer, Carolyn Cohen, Noor Tell, Evan Okun, Scarlett Perry, Sean Curtice, Kaya Lee, Nicole Updegrove, Isabella Cucchi, Hannah Pinto, Nicki Softness, Aaron Colbert, Leah Temes, Elana Metsch-Ampel, Kaya Ceci, Rachel Unger, Abbey Francis, Victoria Barron, Hailey Still, Dominique Borno, Emily Duane, Jorge Martinez, Brendan O’Donnell, Miriam Smith-Drelich, Elsa Hardy, Gaby Chavez, Daniel Verdejo, David Leipziger, Isaac Lichter Marck, Kanyakrit Vongkiatkajorn, Yona Roberts-Golding, Rebecca Schisler, Gemma Smith, Alexandra Patrick, Susan Rodriguez, Isabelle Gauthier, Missy McCabe, Elizabeth Damaskos, Micah Weiss, Manuel Felipe DaCosta, Erin Chase, Hannah Lewis, Nicole Stanton, Jennifer Paykin, Katherine Clifford, Jessica Best, Erin Kelly, Sarah Shachat, Connor Smith, Melanie Hsu, Arielle Trager, Kerry Doyle, Neha Shafique, Christian Bachrach, Nicole Brenner, Eliza Messinger, Kimberly Muellers, Matthew Carney, Jillian Ruben, Edward F. Buffie, Cassandra Paez, Susanna Schneider Banks, Kate Weiner, Robert Wohl, Sam Long, Eliza Sankar-Gorton, Eric Sherman, Brett Keating, Natalie Unger, Isabel Rouse, Matt Amylon, Matt Auster, Claire Brady, Noah Heau, Emma Rothberg, Paul Blasenheim, Clare Colton, David Shor, Michelle Agresti, Justin Raymond, Ethan Hoffman, Ethan Hoffman, Orelia Jonathan, Jake Schofield, Eleanor Chabraja, Rachel Swerdlow, Ian McCarthy, Syed Alam, William Curran-Groome, Rachel Verner, Aaron Veerasuntharam, Lucy Britt, Rachel Warner, Eileen Gaffney, Maureen Lefèvre, Jane Jankie, Zachary Burns, Joanne Robbins, Oluwaseun Odubiro, David Stouck, Will Gueble, Lewis Lo, Ariel Lesnick, Sergei Pourmal, Hyam Desai, Muniba Iqbal, Opraha Miles, Chloe Jones, Lucas Turner-Owens, Dori Rutkevitz, Glenn Cantave, Rachel Connor, Andrew Pezzullo, Juliana Manrique, Betsy Valdez, Ryan Katz, Elijah Stevens, Amy Cao, Sierra Bintliff, Andrew Pfeiffer, Sinead Keogh, Helen DeKorne, June Marie Broadley, Kristen Raddatz, Hector Amaya, Jose Enrique Calvo Elhauge, Anna Guth, Kathryn O’Brien, Christian Hosam, James Fang. Joshua Neitzel