Alumni sponsired relief money for the College's Union workers to compensate for bad faith labor negotiations.
Terrell Library, 2014
Contents — Oberlin 1833 Just Transition Fund – Petition and News
It is a beautiful Fall day at ChaosFarm, with the local buzzards convening en masse over ChaosFarm. The buzzards will have slim pickings scavenging the laid-off UAW workers, though. The union had offered to take the cuts needed to reach the College’s targets, but the College, negotiating in bad faith, would not accept this offer and fired everyone anyhow. Hence, the 1833 Just Transition Fund.
While surfing the web, JD discovered the following post from DG regarding The Oberlin Just Transition Fund. The post was shared with members of the Uncensored Unofficial Oberlin Alumni Discussion Group. Only members can see posts to that group, so a copy of it is reposted here at the request of its authors.
JD takes a neutral stance on this issue but believes that the feelings of the 1833 Group deserved to be aired. JD is a bit troubled by the union supporters not seeing the decades-long context in which this situation is now exploding. See Oberlin College – Self-Inflicted UAW Labor Trouble and Elitism Wrecks 2 Organizations.
It would appear that Ambar did not do all the dumb things that she has done unless she is doing them on orders from above. It seems unlikely that she would be being paid $11K PER WEEK unless there is an understanding that she is being compensated in advance for the expected backlash from the blood that will be on the floor.
Once her hatchet jobs are complete, she will be fired for the crime of following orders, and the BOT will publicly shed elephant tears over what a loss she is to the College. As pointed out elsewhere on this blog, it is hard to believe that the college’s shadowy and high opacity BOT is not shadowy for a reason.
We would like to quickly update you on some current actions you can take TODAY.
9/30/2020: AVI negotiations
The UAW dining workers are currently negotiating a contract with AVI, our new food service provider. We have included in this email the emails of the two negotiators on the AVI management’s side and a script you can use to voice support for the UAW dining workers. Like all actions, a targeted approach is important, and so we would like to send out as many messages of support as possible TODAY. Also, feel free to forward this to any other listservs you might be a part of that you think will support this action. The script and emails are at the bottom!!!
Good (morning/afternoon/evening) AVI management,
My name is (name), and I am a (year) at Oberlin College. I want to voice my strong support for the UAW staff in their current and ongoing contract negotiations with management. I want to draw attention to the importance that Oberlin dining workers receive high wages, quality healthcare, and a robust retirement plan. These core provisions are essential for Oberlin workers’ wellbeing. As students, we resolutely believe that all members of our Oberlin community have a right to stability in work and in life.
(option personal anecdote/testimony about what Oberlin workers mean to you / how they’ve impacted your life)
AVI General management – AVIFresh@oberlin.edu
Jeff Wharry, Director of Human Resources for AVI – JWharry@AVIFoodsystems.com
Caleb Crandall, Resident Director of AVI – CCrandall@AVIFoodsystems.com
[Is a private food service company employee entitled to an email address in the .edu domain? A .edu domain is for educational institutions and not for private businesses according to the rules of ICANN, The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. ed.]
9/29/2020: 1833 contact info
DG posts: Sharing this email I just received.
The 1833 Just Transition Fund Steering Committee
Jul 14, 2020, 11:54 PM
Our dear loyal Obies,
Thank you again for being one of almost 2,500 alumni who signed the petition to President Ambar a few months ago declaring a moratorium on donations to the College if it went ahead with outsourcing 114 custodial and dining workers’ jobs. Sadly, it did not deter the administration or the Board. Today is the dining workers’ last day on the job, with custodians soon to follow. The College also has its security guards firmly in its sights, looking to replace them with rent-a-cops. This is all happening, of course, in the middle of a pandemic in a town with a pre-virus 23 percent poverty rate.
We fight on, though. We are setting up a non-profit, charitable 1833 Just Transition Fund to support workers if they are let go, or support the college if the jobs continue through a collective bargaining agreement with the union. We have told the College that we will continue to operate the fund and seek support for it for at least five years if necessary.
We believe it is necessary to demonstrate to the administration and board that their desire to save money by casting aside 114 workers will be offset by the resources we will direct to the 1833 Just Transition Fund.
We are taking this step to achieve the following positive goals:
- Securing the jobs, wages and working conditions of 114 Oberlin workers;
- Halting the destruction of the local union;
- Preventing more damage to the town of Oberlin that has a 23% pre-pandemic poverty rate;
- Contributing to the mending of the growing rift between Oberlin and the town;
- Contributing again to the College as it faces the pandemic crisis;
- Protecting the Oberlin progressive traditions which connect us all to each other and to generations who have worked so hard for social justice.
In a very real way, those 114 jobs now depend on how much we can raise for the fund and how quickly we can do it. It is not too late. We need all the leverage we can muster to help persuade the College to go back to the bargaining table.
Yesterday, our first day, we surpassed our goal of receiving 54 pledges — one for each of the dining workers — averaging over $1,200.
Now we ask you to head here* and make your pledge. Contributions, when we ask for them, will be tax-deductible. Even if you are not in a financial position to do much, the sheer number of supporters we can show also matters a great deal.
Please consider forwarding this message to alumni and interested friends, and posting on your social media.
With many thanks to all who have and will contribute. Please click the following link to make a Donation Pledge to the 1833 Just Transition Fund.
The 1833 Just Transition Fund Steering Committee.
The following additional info was posted by Les, ’69. [minor formatting edits added. ed.]
I’m a member of the 1833 Just Transition Fund steering committee. DG sent me a list of questions and concerns you’d like addressed. I’ll do my best.
There are about 40 of us alumni who have been communicating for the past several months about how to halt the job destruction and the hiring of low wage contractors. We formed a petition of 1,400 of us who said they wouldn’t give to the College until this was resolved.
It seemed the administration realized that at least they should cease and desist during the pandemic. Instead, they simply waited a bit and then moved quickly to basically wipe out 114 food service and custodial jobs as well as busting the local union.
When we found out recently that the foodservice cuts would take place starting today, we had to act quickly. I’ve sent to DG the letter we sent to the administration last night. (You also should have received a note this afternoon that has the names of those on the steering committee. If not, DG has that too.)
As you’ll see our idea is to show that we’re going to do everything we can so that the College will not save money on the backs of these workers. Yes, we are trying to redirect donations to the 1833 Just Transition Fund instead of to the College, unless the admin. relents.
The idea of the fund is to make the dislocated workers as whole as possible if they are let go. The exact rules for fund distribution will be worked out after we secure a 501c3 charitable non-profit designation.
We are organizing an official board of alumni plus two worker representatives. That board will be empowered to figure out how the money should be sent. Therefore all we are asking for now are pledges. Money won’t be collected until the incorporation is completed, and the rules for dispersing the funds have been posted for all to see.
At this very moment, we have 237 pledges for a total of $95,500. When we reach $100 k, we’ll send Ambar and company another letter imploring them to change course. If you have any questions, please write to me at 1833JustTransition@gmail.com. I’ve got to limit how many different platforms I’m using.
Hope you can join the fray and expand our power. It’s a crime to kill those decent-paying jobs in the middle of a pandemic in a town that is so poor. We have to fight hard to right this wrong and reclaim our progressive heritage.
Many thanks for whatever you can do.
[embeddoc url=”https://oberlinchaos.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Fact-Sheet-on-Oberlin-College-Union-Negotiations.pdf” download=”all” viewer=”google”]
JD has discovered a post on the Unofficial Uncensored Oberlin Alumni Discussion Group from a custodian laid-off by Oberlin College. Unlike President Ambar, the custodian’s pay was certainly much closer to $11,000 per year than to Ambar’s $11,000 PER WEEK. Ambar is a world-class truth stretcher and is probably severely underpaid for a person with her outstanding truth-stretching expertise.
Is an underpaid truth stretcher the kind of person we want to be the public face of Oberlin College and the person to put a needed and extensive new structural imprint on it?
Our custodian friend seems to be aware that he is an essential person because he probably knows much more about what is going on than does Ambar or the BOT chair. This knowledge is because custodians see what is in everybody’s wastebasket, while the bigwigs only know what their obsequious subordinates feed to them!
It appears that our custodian friend must have read the OberlinChaos article Elitism Wrecks 2 Organizations. Now for the link shared by MH:
Coming to the end of my short career as an Oberlin custodian, it finds me to state that in February we gathered together as a group to learn our fate. Since February, I have NOT seen or heard from the leader of that meeting that gathered us up to open the doors of grief and loss. Was she or did she gather us together for a final “its done” meeting? NO! Was there anyone there when I had to for the last time turn in my keys and uniforms? NO! Was Oberlin Colleges Human Resource department on hand to give a small but needed piece of information that leads us to the next door, which is the Unemployment office? NO! Where was the overly paid College President thru all this, AT THE GYMN getting her abs ready so when she breaths deeply and wipes her brow clean of the people who by the way, Cleaned up the USED tampons left just laying in the bathrooms or the USED condoms left laying to be admired on the floor. YES, being a custodian is a glamorous job that YES, being paid an adequate amount is worth the staring down at a toilet bowl filled with overflowing excrement and wondering what the Hell do you do next. Again, as glamorous and as exciting as the job has been, being abandoned in your final hour on campus without a “Thank You” or a Virus controlled “fist bump” shows that Oberlin seems to be an institution of highly paid people NOT in touch with themselves or reality. Don’t bother to bring yourself down to a person you trusted not to rummage thru your desk or walk off with your computer[.] Just keep you[r] noses held high to the sky to catch the smell of a MISTAKE that might cloud your vision of the future.
Maybe this guy should be made President of the College. His insights really are worth a President’s salary. Best of all, he might be willing to take the job for only $10K PER WEEK and thereby help the College cut costs!
/s/ JD Nobody (No pronouns!), OC ’61.