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By Dan Snyder ’17

May 1, 2014

Tufts students protest on behalf of janitors

On April 23, a group of students called the Tufts Labor Coalition (TLC) rallied and marched in support of the college’s janitorial staff. The student group took these actions because of the mistreatment of the janitors on campus. More specifically, they believe there is a breach of contract by their contractor.

Vice President of TLC Rae Axner ’14 said in a statement, “The janitors are clearly in a precarious situation because they are not employed by Tufts University; they are employed by their contractor DTZ/Unicco.” He continued, “There [have] been a lot of problems with the contractor in the past couple of years. There are three major issues that are going on right now, two of which are contractual violations, one of which isn’t specifically a violation of the contract — it’s just mistreatment.”

Axner later said the biggest issue is the lack of full-time employment for the janitors. According to an article on The Tufts Daily website, the janitors’ contract states there will be a 75/25 split between full-time and part-time workers, but currently, only 58 percent of janitors are employed full-time. Additionally, Axner suggests that the contractor, DTZ, has been manipulating schedules by replacing full-time employees with multiple part-time employees.

Additionally, Axner suggested that DTZ could be cutting corners. She stated, “We have janitors who are assigned to three, four, five buildings every day and DTZ also does not keep staff on retainer to cover when other janitors are sick.” She explained that the quality of work has gone down as the demands on janitors have risen.

The incoming vice president of TLC, Giovanna Castro, led the rally, which included students, professors and janitors. The university administration said they will respond to the TLC letter of demands by the end of the semester.

Amherst to give Brooks and Silver honorary degrees

Political commentator David Books, and prominent statistician Nate Silver are among seven to be honored at the Amherst College commencement on May 25.

Brooks is an analyst on PBS NewsHour, an op-ed columnist for The New York Times and a frequent commentator on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.” He graduated from the University of Chicago in 1983. Although he identifies as a conservative, his articles often resonate with people on both sides of the political spectrum. In the past, he has written for The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, and National Review.

Nate Silver is a statistician, editor-in-chief of ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight blog and a special correspondent for ABC News. He is perhaps most famous for correctly predicting results in 49 states in the 2008 presidential election, as well as 35 senate races that year. He followed up that feat by correctly predicting all 50 states in the 2012 presidential election. Silver is a graduate of the University of Chicago and has studied at the London School of Economics.

Other honorees include four-time Olympic medal winning swimmer, Cullen Jones, President and CEO of SHI International Corp., Thai-Hi Lee, economist Yasuo Sakakibara, artist Sarah Sze and Amherst trustee Jide Zeitlin ’85.

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