By: Terriyonna Smith
Workers’ Compensation across Pitzer College’s campus is becoming a widespread issue. Not only are the students recognizing the wrong doings of the “progressive, liberal, caring, and proper” college, but the faculty is as well. It is disgusting how Pitzer treats their workers, especially when we are a college with five core values—intercultural understanding, social responsibility, environmental sustainability, interdisciplinary learning, and student engagement—that pride ourselves in wanting equal rights, and the best thing for society as well as the environment. In case you are a little in-the-dark, let me inform you.
“Pitzer College adheres to both the letter and the spirit of Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national or ethnic origin, sex, gender, age, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, disability, medical condition, or veteran status, in the administration of its admission policies, educational policies, scholarship and loan programs, athletic and other College-administered programs, and employment policies.” This is a quote directly from Pitzer College’s website on worker’s compensation. After asking questions, and listening to the workers here at Pitzer, I found that this mission statement might just be a formality to cover themselves. Arguably, the conditions in which our workers work in are inhumane. After just walking around as an observer, I have noticed the work in extreme heat warning days to prepare for turf dinners, as well as to keep the maintenance of our beautiful buildings intact. After annoyance with these observations I began to talk with workers, to ask questions and be sure that I wasn’t overstepping my boundaries as a student and observer. Many of the workers spoke to not only the conditions that concerned me and many other students, but also racial oppression, and even being called in to complete tasks as early as three o’clock in the morning. Pitzer has gotten crafty with firing the workers as well, especially after they are hurt on the job. There is a policy in which workers must be able to lift a certain number of pounds in order to maintain their jobs and if this test is not passed, they are either accommodated or fired and replaced with workers who Pitzer doesn’t have to pay benefits and minimum wage to, without background checks. Workers’ hours are also cut after the injuries and their protection is, as well. Although all these things are equally disturbing, the most absurd fact about it is that the workers are scared to even speak up! They are afraid of getting involved with the Workers’ Alliance or even saying too much to a Pitzer student because of the morale of Pitzer College. Now, given all this information, the actual conditions of the workers do not seem at all like the quote above, nor does it sound like the values or the reputation of Pitzer College.
What Can You Do?
As a student, look out for petitions going around for our workers and sign them! Get involved! Join the Workers’ Alliance and fight for the workers. Rally! Protest the disrespect of the workers, because just like you and me, they are humans and they deserve to be treated as such!