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Give employees union rights

Letter to the Editor | Friday, October 31, 2008

Notre Dame claims to be a family, claims to listen to the voices of everyone at the University. But does the administration really live up to this rhetoric?

If you talk with Notre Dame workers, they will tell you that they have no voice on this campus. We cannot truly live as a family if workers’ call for change cannot be heard. When workers at Harvard, Yale and Georgetown, among other renowned universities, called for similar change, their voices were respected and their issues were addressed. All of these universities have even achieved living wages.

But another crucial element, which these campuses all share that ours lacks, is union protection. Unions played a key role in the living wage campaigns at all of these universities because they provided a unified, strong and powerful voice for workers. The University will refuse to listen to demands for better working conditions and just wages until they are forced to, and the voice of students and workers on their own has not been enough.

John Affleck-Graves, the executive vice president of the University, claims “Notre Dame has long recognized the right of our employees to unionize if they wish, and has stated that if they do vote to have a union the University will bargain with it ‘in good faith.'” It is time to put this claim to the test. The workers at Notre Dame may lack a voice, but they are calling for change. If the University will not listen, it is time to seek outside help.

Teresa McGeeney


Lyons Hall

Oct. 29