Members of IWSJ who are custodians at UW presented this letter to UW Director of Facilities Services Charles Kennedy on Tues Sept 28th at a forum he was holding on budget cuts at UW. The letter outlines how UW custodial services manager Yang Sook Choe has been mistreating custodians in her area. She has banned them from using UW electricity to heat up their food in their custodial closets during breaks, and she has required them to stay in their buildings so late that they don't have time to get to the clock station to clock out before their shift ends, leading to mandatory unpaid overtime.
We demanded that Kennedy and Custodial Services director Gene Woodard respond within one week. If we do not hear back from them by tomorrow, October 5th, we will begin a public campaign of actions aimed at correcting Yang Sook's abuses. We had to do this once before, back in February, and after that action Yang Sook had let up on some of her most oppressive abuses. Maybe she thinks we went away and therefore she can get away with it this time. If so, she is wrong.
Immediately after custodians from her area presented this demand letter to her supervisors, Yang Sook announced that she would be imposing team cleaning in her area. Team cleaning is a much-hated cleaning method that robs workers of creativity, initiative, and freedom on the job and forces them into an assembly line-type procedure that management uses to enforce overwork and unsustainable speed-up of the cleaning process. Custodians in Yang Sook's area have been resisting this for decades. Her move to impose it beginning today is widely perceived to be an act of retaliation against our demand letter.
Because of this bad-faith response, IWSJ will be organizing a picket line on Thurs, Oct 7th at 1:15 PM on Red Square at UW-Seattle (in front of Gerberding Hall), right after the custodian day shift ends. We need to make clear that retaliation is not welcome on our campus and in our workplace! This will be followed by a student-worker speak out at 3:30 PM against budget cuts. Both of these actions are part of the National Day of Action to Defend Public Education against budget cuts. We hope to see you there.
You can find a copy of the demand letter here.