25 September 2007 by Andrew Thompson
Temple University broke its longstanding neutrality in the fight between labor groups and AlliedBarton, the company contracted for campus security, when a senior university official met with the groups on Friday to discuss the security guards’ conditions.
Labor organizers present at the meeting said that while no specific promises were made, senior vice president William Bergman said he would consult with President Ann Weaver Hart as to whether the university would take action to ensure that workers for AlliedBarton are granted the five paid sick days demanded by protestors at a campus demonstration three weeks ago.
No Temple official could immediately be reached for comment.
“The fact that they’re talking with us is a victory, but nothing substantive came out of the meeting,” said Fabricio Rodriguez, field organizer for Jobs with Justice, the primary group behind the campaign.
Bergman also said that any abuses against AlliedBarton employees should be brought to the attention of the Temple administration, but he did not specify what actual recourse would occur, said Temple Student Labor Action Project member Kate Harkins.
“Our response was that after the fact, it’s a little too late. The damage has been done,” Harkins said. “A lot of it was them collecting information and trying to better understand where we were coming from.”
The meeting took place three weeks after the largest Temple protest yet for AlliedBarton guards, when demonstrators marched to Sullivan Hall and gave a Temple spokesman a petition to grant the guards five paid sick days. After the demonstration, the spokesman asserted the university’s staunch neutrality in the relationship between AlliedBarton and its employees.
“[The meeting] was definitely a step forward,” Harkins said. “But there’s definitely a long way to go with it. This is the beginning of the conversation.”
Andrew Thompson can be reached at email@example.com.