For four consecutive years, the University of Miami has been named one of America’s top 50 colleges and number one in Florida by U.S.News & World Report. With over 180 majors and programs, it has a nine decade history of excellence.
But behind the scenes, the treatment of its food service workers does not match that high standard. They are at-will employees who can be fired by their firm Chartwells with no notice for any reason or no reason at all.
Chartwells is contracted to provide food service work for more than 200 US colleges. Its revenues exceeded $24 billion dollars in 2011. Nevertheless, the company chooses not to offer any job security or protections to the cooks, cashiers and other workers who fuel college kids across the country.
On April 4th 2013, supporters of the food service work will join forces on the UM campus in Coral Gables to demand an end to poverty jobs at the university and commemorate the death of Martin Luther King’s. They will mark the significance of his legacy regarding workers like dining hall worker Ms. Betty Asbury and dishwasher Alfredo Suarez.
In a speech supporting striking sanitation workers the day before his assassination, Dr. King recognized the importance of maintaining unity. He referred to the parable of the Good Samaritan. Although it takes courage and deep empathy to risk your own comfort and help a stranger but it’s undeniably the right thing to do. And as we all struggle through tough economic times, none of us are strangers to job insecurity.
“Let us stand with a greater determination,” he said. “And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation.”