From the UNICCO employees on Hunger Strike at UM
Apr 7, 2006
To all of the Miami community:
Today, April 7, 2006, is the fourth day that UNICCO janitors have been on a hunger strike, after a month and a half of being on strike asking that they be treated like people, humanely. All they ask is that the university respect their human rights like citizens of this country, and most of all they ask this under the representation of a union to defend the workers interests.
Today, after the fourth day of the hunger strike for the workers, they had to call the ambulance because one of the workers (Isabel Montalvo) had problems with blood pressure. The ambulance arrived silently, so as not to show the world what is happening at the University of Miami.
Another worker was also having problems with high blood pressure, but this worker, Odalys Rodriguez, decided to stay while she has the strength to show everyone that "yes, it is possible" (si se puede) and we have to win, because we are only asking for liberty and respect, which is what we all hoped to find when we got to this country.
Because of this, we cannot conceive of this attitude that the hunger strike hasn't been given the appropriate press by the TV channels, now that each of these workers is risking their life to achieve what every person who lives and works in this country should have anyway.
This is why we are writing this short and thoughtful letter, so that everyone will know what is going on at the University of Miami and so that Donna Shalala, the president, will know she is responsible for whatever happens, seeing as though she is the one putting the breaks on the solution to these problems.
Clara Vargas, elected representative of UNICCO workers and hunger striker
(Translated by Bethany Quinn)