As the conflict between Temple management and union employees continues, members of the Student Labor Action Project are demanding to know about and have a say in the affairs of their school.
A petition circulated last week by members of SLAP demanded that Temple President Ann Weaver Hart hold a public forum on the current state of labor relations at the school.
“We just want transparency,” said Wes Weaver, a junior photography and urban studies major and SLAP leader. “The concern is that the way labor relations are going now is not healthy. They’re overlooking the students.”
A major source of the conflict is that two of the unions working in the school have not been able to work out a contract with the school’s management. One union, the Temple Association of University Professionals, has accused Temple of violating state labor laws through the use of anti-union tactics in negotiations.
“I’m discomforted to know that students don’t know what’s going on on-campus,” said Temple College Democrats President Elizabeth Hanson through a megaphone from the top of the Bell Tower’s steps. “We need this information to be the engaged, active students that we’d hope they’d want us to be.”
Another issue of concern to the students involves AlliedBarton security guards’ paid sick days. Weaver, who has campaigned with SLAP on behalf of the security company since 2007, said it is a common policy for security guards to receive only one paid sick day per year when upon hire they were led to believe they would receive more.
The students’ petition, along with letters written by members of the Temple College Democrats, the Pennsylvania Students Education Association and SLAP, were brought to the office of President Hart Wednesday afternoon after a rally at the Bell Tower.
The rally was predominantly attended by students from the coalition of organizations in support of the unions. Approximately 40 people rallied. Many were carrying signs, some of which depicted a pink elephant, symbolic of the problem of poor labor relations at the school, the students said.
But it was the lack of transparency in the school’s actions that inspired many of the speakers the most.
Temple Student Government Senate President Jeff Dempsey gave a brief speech to the crowd at the rally reiterating the call for more student involvement in the schools affairs.
“Communication is not a luxury, it’s a necessity,” he said.
Corey Gochenaur, a junior secondary education major and member of PSEA, said he was concerned that without stable labor relations within this school or others his future livelihood, and that of other aspiring teachers, is threatened.
After the speeches at the Bell Tower the students and other supporters marched to the front of Sullivan Hall, where the petition and letters were given to University Counsel and Senior Vice President George E. Moore, who assured that they would be delivered to Hart, Weaver said.
“We just want to have an open forum,” said Weaver, long after the day’s events ended.
Tim McCullough can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.