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Campus workers deserve stronger voice

Casey Stanton | Tuesday, September 25, 2007

In the all-staff town hall meetings conducted this week, Executive Vice President John Affleck-Graves is quoted as saying, “It is critical and essential every member of the Notre Dame family feels respected, valued and understood.”

I couldn’t agree more, and I applaud the University’s efforts to measure employee satisfaction by conducting the ND Voice surveys, as well as the development of staff-generated action plans that seek to address concerns in the work force.

Similarly, the proposal for top administrators to shadow staff members is a brilliant one – though it is not a new concept for this campus; it is something dozens of students have been doing for the past two years, though their efforts have often been of little success in attracting serious attention or recognition from the University. They too have sought to give an “ND Voice” to employees who otherwise feel that they have no say in the decisions that directly affect them and their experience at work.

How do we ensure that all members of the Notre Dame family do in fact feel respected and valued? Especially in light of the Church’s rich tradition and social teaching? A right to organize, a right to bargain, a right to participate at the table where decisions get made that affect your life (the technical Catholic social teaching term is subsidiarity) and a right to speak on your own behalf without fear of repercussions in performance reviews, unjust consequences from supervisors or risk of termination. These are rights that members of the Campus Labor Action Project – staff, students, faculty and alumni like myself – are committed to upholding at Notre Dame, an institution that so greatly prides itself on service learning, justice and faith put into action.

I hope that visitors to campus pause and consider the people serving in the Subway line or cleaning up our mess after tailgating – more than that, I hope we will be moved to stand in solidarity with workers in the Notre Dame family whose voice has yet to be fully proclaimed.

Casey Stanton


Class of 2007

Sept. 20