Worker Solidarity Campaign

Living wages for our security guards

  1. Living wages for our security guards
  2. worker solidarity meeting
  3. our proposal
  4. workers’ chapel + petition delivery
  5. March Update
  6. We Won!
  7. celebration rally
  8. follow our instagram

worker solidarity meeting

February 9, 2022

our proposal

Employees shall receive base pay according to the pay scale below. At the start date of their union contract, employees will receive base pay based on their years of service at UTS, to recognize and value their seniority and commitment to our community.Any employee who has worked eight (8) hours in a day and is required to work at least four (4) hours of overtime in that day, shall be given a $15.00 meal allowance.Supervisors shall receive a pay differential of $5/hr. Employees who work overnight shall receive a pay differential of $2/hr.

Employees shall receive an across the board wage increase of fifty cents ($.50) for every year of the contract, not to exceed $38/hr, which is a living wage calculated for one adult with one child in New York City.

Years of ServiceBase Rate 
6 months$24

health benefits
Employees shall receive the same 32BJ health plan as UTS janitors. This is comprehensive healthcare, with minimal co-pays.

Employees shall receive the following vacation with pay, based on years of service at UTS:

6 months3 working days
1 year2 weeks
5 years3 weeks
15 years4 weeks
21 years21 working days
22 years22 working days
23 years23 working days
24 years24 working days
25 years5 weeks

sick time
Employees shall receive 10 paid sick days

New Years Day, Martin Luther King Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Election Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christiams Day, Eid al-Fitr

elective holiday
Employees shall select one of the following or a personal day at the option of the employee: Lincoln’s Birthday, Good Friday, Eid al-Adha, September 11th, Yom Kippur, Veterans Day

personal day
All employees shall receive a personal day in each contract year. This personal day is in addition to the holidays listed above.

part time and relief employees
Part-time or relief employees shall be paid the same hourly rate as full-time employees.

new employees
There shall be a trial period for all newly hired employees for sixty (60) calendar days.

health and safety
An adequate and complete first aid kit shall be supplied and maintained by the Employer in a place readily available to all employees.All employees who work in Hastings Hall and have passed probationary period shall have an access to the Hastings building.

respecting faith traditions
Employees shall be given time to perform religious prayer, including Friday congregational prayer for Muslims

workers’ chapel + petition delivery

March 2, 2022

March Update

Why are UTS admin refusing to take responsibility for workers wages and benefits?

UTS community,

Do you feel confused about what’s happening with the security guards, and why you’re hearing such positive communication from UTS admin but nothing concrete has been settled yet? You’re not the only one! We are reaching out as the student and worker leaders in the Living Wage Coalition, to provide an update about what’s happening. We are first and foremost concerned about UTS workers receiving the wages, healthcare, and the working conditions they deserve. UTS workers have formed a union, and are represented by the union 32BJ. It is the responsibility of this seminary and the UTS administration to live up to its values, and pay workers what they deserve— whether that is employing them directly or employing them through a 3rd party contractor.After multiple meetings with workers and union representatives, it has become clear that the campaign must move forward. While coated in positive rhetoric and support, administration is actively evading responsibility for meeting the clear demands of workers. Below we will answer some key questions that we’ve been hearing.

Who decides the wages and benefits for UTS security guards?
The good news is, this is not a complicated question! UTS sets the wages, benefits, and working conditions for the security guards. Although UTS employs a 3rd party contractor (Allied) to act as a middle manager for the workers, Allied does NOT set the wages or benefits for the workers. If UTS wanted to pay the workers a living wage and healthcare, they would simply pay Allied the additional money. Allied wants to retain their contract with UTS, and it does not cost them any additional money for UTS to pay a higher wage. This past fall, UTS decided to give the security guards a small $2 raise, and all they had to do was pay Allied $2/hr more per person.

So why is the UTS administration saying that Allied sets the wages, and that they aren’t at the negotiating table?
This process is complicated on purpose. We are also shocked and disappointed that the UTS administration is employing the age-old union busting argument that they do not decide the wages and benefits of the workers. We have included a list of materials and articles which document how institutions of higher education use “3rd party contracting” in order to save money on wages and benefits, and to avoid responsibility for their workers. There is a mountain of peer-reviewed research about how contracting out pushes workers into poverty, and how institutions use contracting out to save money and bust unions. Services that used to be provided directly by our universities are being outsourced to the lowest bidder, creating a race to the bottom. When our administrators decide to outsource they look for the cheapest bid- and how do you think corporations provide the lowest bid? That’s right, they slash wages, and eliminate healthcare and overtime, forcing our campus workers to take second and third jobs just to make ends meet. Contracting out accelerated in the 1980’s under the leadership of Ronald Reagon, and under this system, administrators can avoid responsibility for their workers and place blame on the 3rd party contractor.

What’s at stake and why won’t UTS agree to a living wage?
UTS security guards have gone years without healthcare, and have been living paycheck to paycheck. Sherwin Shambuger, a security guard who has been at UTS for 10 years, is currently in the hospital because he has not had the money to get the care that he deserves. This is not a complicated issue– it is simply a matter of priorities. The UTS administration could come up with several solutions to this problem, in order to ensure workers get a living wage and good healthcare. They could end their contract with Allied and employ the workers directly, or they could keep Allied but pay the workers a living wage through the 3rd party contractor. The question that stands is simple: will the UTS administration prioritize the lowest paid workers on campus, who are majority people of color? Are they willing to truly live up to their values of racial and social justice, and pay workers a minimum of $26/hr, or will they continue to avoid taking responsibility?

What’s next?
Although we are disappointed to see our UTS administrators acting like other corporate employers, we are deeply moved by the ways that our community has shown up for the security guards. We have created a beautiful movement on campus, and we will not stop until UTS lives up to its values. We are hopeful and rooted in faith in justice.

Examples of “contracting out” at higher ed institutions, as a union busting strategy:

Resistance from UTS Administration in Security Guards’ Fight for Fair Wages — The Heretic

We Won!

On April 1, 2022, security guards WON their union contract, which includes a $23/hour starting wage, moving up to $24.35 including improved sick days and vacation day, full no-cost health insurance, legal aid, 401K, and benefits for them and their families. The guards have agreed to this contract and declared a WIN!

Angel Rodriguez says, “This is a big deal. This was the right thing to do because we deserved it. We work day in and day out, holidays, Christmas, birthdays. We make sacrifices to work here. This victory is going to change my life. Instead of living paid check to paid check I can now set real goals. I’m really thankful for you all. Everybody showed and fought hard for us and we can’t thank you enough. None of this could’ve been possible without the support of students and the UTS community.”

Charles Amankwa said, “This completely changes my life for the better. This is a very big deal for me in every way. I cannot express how happy I am. This makes me feel secure for my future and my family. We won because of the support of people. Everything –medical, vacation, sick days is what we got. I am looking forward to going home and telling my family the good news.”

Anthony Quizhpe said, “The only reason I started working here was to help people around me. For one, it’s the students always showed up for us. A lot of us live with family, so now we are able to contribute more.”

Zak Soultane said “I feel great! We made the impossible possible. Anything can happen when we come together, when we fight together, and when we are united. If we are divided, nothing is possible.”

celebration rally

April 4, 2022

follow our instagram

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