Club Update: Workers' Justice reminds us to appreciate employees

Citizen Drunk, a self-described liberal arts drunk metal group, performs in the Bates basement led by frontman and official club officer of chaos, Nachi Conde-Farley '14

Q: Have you thanked a Sarah Lawrence worker today? 

A: If you are like the vast majority of Sarah Lawrence students, no, you probably have not. In fact, most Sarah Lawrence students do not even know a single worker’s name, even though these are the people that make this school run day-to-day, week-to-week, and year-to-year.

But who are our workers? They are the people who clean the library everyday, the people who plant the gorgeous flowers at Westlands once spring arrives, the people who drive around keeping the campus safe. Our workers process all the campus mail; they cook us our food; they stock our textbooks in the bookstore.

Whether employed by the college or through third-party contractors, our workers are just as much a part of our community as students, faculty, and administration. Unfortunately for our workers, the Sarah Lawrence community at large does little to acknowledge their constant hard work and sacrifice. Even worse, often while simply doing their jobs—the toiling and mundanity of which likely far exceeds our own imagination here at such a college as Sarah Lawrence—students actively harass and demean our workers. For example, while breaking up illicit on-campus parties, our night-shift security guards have commented on a repeated pattern of facing hostile, demeaning, and disrespectful students, many of whom are intoxicated.

Fortunately, Sarah Lawrence Workers Justice is a student organization dedicated to improving these relations. Workers Justice was founded 5 years ago. It arose out of a successful union campaign that brought our AVI workers better wages and a respectable benefits package. Nachi Conde-Farley ‘14, the current club chair, said WJ’s mission is “to be there for our fellow community members, to give a voice to all working people on our campus, and to ensure that everyone has a safe and respectable place to work at Sarah Lawrence.” Kelly Gilbert ‘15, an officer of the organization, said the main goal for the rest of the spring semester is to focus on fostering student support by holding events on campus that raise awareness of workers issues on campus.

Workers Justice will be hosted an information booth at the Pub during the day on Thursday and Friday March 6th and 7th,. Members were there to answer any questions the SLC community had. They are also conducting an ongoing fundraiser so that the AVI workers can purchase new speakers to listen to music while working.   

On Friday, March 7 at 10PM, WJ hosted a live music event in the Bates Basement featuring four bands: Child Bride (described as “Yonkers Hardcore”), Field Observations (“Sludge”), AUDIOMUFF (“Boston Noise”), and Citizen Drunk (“Liberal Arts Drunk Metal). Conde-Farley described the event as being “basically a punk show…it’s a place where we can party but also celebrate the contributions of workers on this campus.”

Finally, WJ would also like to encourage each member of the Sarah Lawrence community to take a little time out of their day, once in a while, to thank a worker for their work and maybe even get to know their name—greet every worker you come across with a smile.

Other little things like making sure to pick up after yourself, for instance while in the library, or simply not vandalizing campus property, for instance in Hill House, can go a long way—especially if everyone is doing it (or in the case of vandalism, not doing it).

But most of all, be thankful for our workers and always keep them in mind when talking about our campus community at large.

Workers Justice meets once a week in the North Room of the Pub, usually at 7:00pm. Anyone from the SLC is welcome to join. For more information you can find them online at www.facebook.com/slc.workerjustice

by Jake Rickman '16
jrickman@gm.slc.edu

 

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The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.