On-campus protest goes unnoticed
I am writing in response to The Hatchet’s failure to cover the demonstration last Thursday for fair wages and treatment of all workers on campus.
Students joined representatives of the Laborers’ International Union of North America and employees of ACECO, a contractor doing demolition and asbestos removal on the Ross Hall project, to demand that the administration push for fair treatment of all workers on our campus.
GW should be a place where contracted workers are treated fairly under the law. Unfortunately, ACECO’s employees at Ross Hall have been shown anything but consideration and respect. Since the Ross Hall construction project is funded by a federal grant, ACECO is obligated to pay their employees the DC prevailing wage.
However, the workers have provided pay stubs that show ACECO directly violated those standards. It also has a long history of putting their employees’ safety at risk, even refusing to provide face masks in the dangerous job of asbestos removal.
Workers’ demands for just wages have been met with apathy and, in some cases, outright intimidation.
Here at GW, many of us have learned how to be activists. We’ve studied fundamental economic and political questions, we’ve worked for organizations and officials with tremendous influence in national and global affairs and we’ve campaigned and protested for causes that we believe in. In this case, violations of rights are not far away, and the conflict is not theoretical.
Workers are being mistreated on our own campus, and they are risking their jobs to stand for justice. We must stand with them.
The writer, Anne Schwartz, is an organizer with the Progressive Student Union and is a student in the Elliott School of International Affairs.