Several students and I Eric Schildge have started a student organization on campus called Dartmouth Students Stand with Staff. We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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In recent public statements regarding the impending budget reductions at the College, President Kim has repeatedly stressed that the student body forms the core of the Dartmouth Community, and that the faculty are the single most important factor in maintaining our excellence in research and education. These reasons are cited as justification for the apparent effort to leave these two communities largely untouched in the budget restructuring process
While this is a noble goal, the unmentioned effect of these efforts is that members of the Dartmouth staff will bear the brunt of any cuts made to the College’s operating budget. Cuts to staff will directly affect the experiences of students and faculty. What’s worse, a much smaller group of employees will be asked to do a far greater share of this work, while other tasks will be allocated to contractors offering cheaper rates, in direct violation of the current contract between the Service Employees Union and the College.
The staff and the work they do remains largely invisible to the average student, who is busy rushing from class, to meals, to practice, to club meetings. I doubt that many students have had the chance to consider what Dartmouth would be like without these hard-working individuals in our community.
The disproportionate suffering of the staff in the coming months and years will fracture the already tenuous dynamic of trust and reciprocity that exists between them and the students and faculty they support. If President Kim and his administration truly value the sense of community which they rightly endeavor to preserve, they will take care to respect the long and tireless service rendered to the College by so many of its staff members. They are members of our community; just as much as our faculty and students. They deserve respect. They deserve thanks, and frankly, they deserve better treatment than that which they’ve received at the hands of the administration in the process thus far.
While the decisions that are being made today in Parkhurst may strike students as minor intrusions into our otherwise idyllic lives, they mean far more to the staff member whose livelihood, and the wellbeing of their entire family, hangs in the balance.
Eric Schildge ’10
The Employee Free Choice Act (H.R. 800, S. 1041), supported by a bipartisan coalition in Congress, would enable working people to bargain for better wages, benefits and working conditions by restoring workers’ freedom to choose for themselves whether to join a union. It would:
Did you know about the SEIU Scholarship Program? If you have been a member of SEIU for 3 years as of 9/1/2010, click here for more information about scholarships. Also you are encouraged to talk with Earl about this.
Application deadline is March 1, 2010. Please don’t wait until the last minute to apply! It usually takes some time to prepare the application and gather required documentation.
Also, NH residents are eligible for a variety of scholarships administered by the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. For more information about those scholarships, click here.
RE: SEIU 560
Dear Attorney O’Leary:
I am in possession of your letter dated April 14, 2011. Thank you for the same. Your response is duly noted and it is a dark day for the “Dartmouth Family”. In February of 2010 representatives from the College and the Union met to commence reaching an agreement during what I believe was termed the worse economic situation face by Dartmouth since the “Great Depression” and an unprecedented diminishment of value to the Endowment fund. The College let it be known that we were all facing hard times and that there was a plan for trying to rejuvenate the college. It was a time that we all had to make sacrifices to Save the Dartmouth Family.
Local 560 responded and agreed to attempt to save the “Dartmouth Family”, as we were all in this together. Local 560 agreed, for the first time, to reduce wages, health care benefits, retirement and other concessions temporarily. The College agreed to maintain “free single coverage” and not to initiate layoffs. However, we still do not have a signed contract and the “free single coverage” is not free. While the College has not initiated any additional layoffs it continues to subcontract out unit work. We were also to find out that representations made concerning the Hanover Inn were not as portrayed by the College.
While the economy has turned around, the endowment fund has rebounded, and the College is showing record “profits” the College would deny and treat disparately less than 10% of their employees because they tried to save the “Dartmouth Family”. We still believe in the Dartmouth Family and the Dartmouth Experience, but disavow any attempt to make our family dysfunctional through misrepresentation and manipulation of the facts for the benefit of corporate and /or institutional greed.
While I am sure that the College can conjure up a self serving rationalization for it actions please be advised that it is now seen as just that, a rationalization. The SEIU 560 hopes to someday reinvigorate the harmonious relationship that was the Dartmouth Experience and Family, but does not believe that all share in that goal. This is a turning point in the relationship and one that will only bring disharmony. Regretfully, this is the path chosen by the College for us all.