09 October 2007 by Andrew Thompson
Two weeks after it opened the possibility of granting security guard advocates their demands, Temple administration has decided it will not take action to ensure that AlliedBarton are given five paid sick days.
“After discussions at the highest level, Temple University has confirmed that it does not have a position on this matter,” Temple spokesman Ray Betzner wrote in an e-mailed statement. “This issue is between AlliedBarton and its employees.”
Senior Vice President William Bergman, who sat down with labor groups two weeks ago, called Jobs with Justice field organizer Fabricio Rodriguez last Monday. Bergman told him that while Temple is open to hearing his group’s concerns, the university will not take an official stance between employees and employers on campus, Rodriguez said.
Bergman did not return repeated phone calls to The Temple News as of Monday afternoon.
“It’s not a surprise that they came back with this response,” said Rodriguez, who helped organize a campus protest for the guards in September.
Demonstrators at that protest delivered a petition to Betzner and demanded that the university give AlliedBarton employees five paid sick days, either by way of the school’s own coffers or in ultimatums to the company.
The meeting that took place two weeks later was the biggest breakthrough in years for the labor groups who had been repeatedly met with statements of impartiality from the Office of Communications.
According to those present at the meeting, Bergman told Jobs with Justice and Student Labor Action Project members that he would consult President Ann Weaver Hart and present a decision as to whether or not the university would become involved in the benefits of AlliedBarton workers.
“This opportunity for them to come up with five sick days was a chance for Temple to make this easy for everybody and do the right thing,” Rodriguez said. “We’re going to win these things we justly deserve, but it’s going to be a big ugly fight.”
Andrew Thompson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.