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Wednesday, May 22
The Indiana Daily Student

administration student life

IU Labor Council voices ongoing concerns about campus work, pay

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The IU Labor Council conducted a videoconference Thursday to hear from student workers about their concerns and questions that remain unanswered after President McRobbie’s email addressing campus jobs and pay.

“IU can serve as a model to the rest of the state of Indiana in ensuring strong protections for its workers and students,” senior Laxmi Palde said.

The council also released a statement regarding the videoconference. About 40 people attended the conference, and it was meant for undergraduate and graduate student workers. Palde, co-chair of Campus Action for Democracy and member of the IU Labor Council, said during the conference that just over a week ago a coalition of organizations joined together to form the IU Labor Council. She said their open letter released last week centered around three primary demands: pay, health care and housing, which many workers discussed during the conference.

“These demands are essential to guaranteeing the security and rights of students and workers across the campus,” Palde said.

IU campus bus driver and supervisor Nik Stewart said before spring break, the IU campus bus service was made aware they would be operating at break level for the foreseeable future, which means there are only two buses running per day for a total of four shifts each day. He said he has been getting calls from part-time drivers who are concerned about the future and the work available to them as shifts are offered to full-time drivers first.

“It was soul crushing to have to tell them I don’t know anything that’s going on,” Stewart said.

Bus workers were told Wednesday they had two options, Stewart said. The first was to not continue working and receive a payout from IU. The second was to take time-and-a-half and only work weekends. Stewart said many workers decided to take the payout and stop working for a while.

Stewart said there are still a lot of unanswered questions concerning how the payout will work and employees will receive it.

“The only answers we’re able to get are assumptions and guesses,” Stewart said.

Junior Arielle Pare works three jobs on campus, one with Residential Programs and Services, one with the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies and one with the IU Auditorium. She said she and other employees are worried about only being paid for one job.

Pare said her main concern, which was not answered during the Thursday morning RPS Q&A, was whether workers will be paid according to their scheduled times or their average amount per week. She said the Q&A failed to mention sick leave for workers.

People also expressed concern about opportunities for work in the summer and upcoming school year.

“If this continues, I might not come back to Indiana University because as a worker I need to be respected,” Pare said. “We all need to be informed.”

Undergraduate student Celeste Coughlin said she works a few jobs on campus. She said it has been difficult to prepare for upcoming months because the information from IU seems vague and repetitive. Coughlin said some of her bosses don't have direct answers from the university yet, so she is still unsure about what shifts will look like in the future and what pay work-study students are entitled to.

“This has thrown my ability to provide my own basic needs into question,” Coughlin said.

Graduate student Cole Nelson said he lives on campus in the Redbud Hill Apartments, and the past week-and-a-half was chaotic because he and his roommate had to petition to stay on campus. He said it’s troubling for students’ living situations to be at the discretion of the IU administration.

“Several of my friends and my fellow residents here in Redbud are international students,” Nelson said. “It is not a choice whether or not they can leave their apartment.”

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