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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Ensuring employee rights

The Just Employment group meets weekly at Wolfington Center, located on the main campus (Photo by Luke Malanga ’20).

A two-year-old student campus organization created to address workers’ rights is ramping up its efforts this semester to ensure that workers on campus are treated fairly.

Just Employment, which meets weekly in Wolfington Center, was inspired by Georgetown University’s Just Employment policy.

“Just Employment at St. Joe’s is part of a larger initiative that started at Georgetown,” said Amanda Scanameo, a campus ministry associate in Campus Ministry. “It seeks to make sure that university employees and subcontracted workers are treated with respect and dignity in a way that’s consistent with our Jesuit values,”

The Just Employment Policy is a national initiative, supported by colleges and universities across the country, who advocate for campus employment policies that address living wages and workers’ rights. Georgetown’s initiative also includes connecting other Jesuit colleges and universities that have adopted policies that protect workers.

St. Joe’s currently does not have a Just Employment policy, but its Just Employment organization would like to see that changed.

Ryan Devore ’20, a member of the group, said that it is essential for workers to have wages that cover basic necessities like food and residence, and a “safe, harassment-free, non-discriminatory workplace.”

“Working inside with the school, we can hopefully achieve and advocate for a policy to be instituted into St Joe’s laws,” Devore said.

Just Employment members are planning to eventually meet with campus administration, employee representatives and campus workers to discuss the adoption of a Just Employment policy here, according to Claudia Plaza Barnils ’18, one of the group’s student leaders.

For now, the group is trying to raise awareness about workers’ rights and provide assistance to workers on campus.

Last semester, Just Employment began hosting appreciation events to acknowledge employees from the dining halls to the residence halls. One event that the organization set up included a trick-or-treating night for the desk attendants. The group also created a weekly service opportunity last semester, which gave students the chance to assist campus workers with learning English.

The Hawk reached out to about 10 employees regarding Just Employment’s appreciation events. The employees were either hesitant to speak without permission or did not know about the events.

This semester, the organization is planning another appreciation event with coffee and donuts for workers. The weekly service group is also still looking for volunteers.

Plaza Barnils said she thinks the most important objective is to get to know the workers on campus and to make sure that they feel like they are treated correctly.

“If that’s not the case,” Plaza Barnils said, “Then try to ask, ‘What can we do better as a school?’”

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