The University of Miami (UM)-my home institution until last year-is known by many for its highly ranked sports teams and, more recently, for the academic prominence increasingly reflected in the annual U.S. News & World Report polls. But readers may be less familiar with UM’s place in a rather different ranking. In August 2001, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported the results of a survey of janitorial pay in American universities. To the mortification of virtually everyone in the UM community, the wages paid campus janitors-technically the employees of Unicco, UM’s custodial and landscaping services contractor-ranked 194th out of the 195 surveyed institutions. What’s worse, UM was one of a dozen schools where janitorial staff actually received less than the federal poverty wage. And worse still, a study commissioned by the UM Faculty Senate in the wake of the Chronicle story revealed that the workers in question received virtually no health-care benefits and were relegated instead to emergency rooms and charitable clinics for what little medical attention they were able to secure.
Mandatory arbitration for guestworkers, a uniquely vulnerable group, will result in class inequality and worse conditions for all workers.
An evidentiary privilege to protect workers' confidential communications from disclosure in federal and state court proceedings would support unions.
Labor organizing privilege is not a magic bullet that will secure the rights of workers to organize and collectively bargain. Employers will continue to resist the efforts of their workers to organize.
Voting rights advocates should explore section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act as a vehicle to combat voter intimidation.