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Making the Invisible, Visible at UCSD

So, far the petition to hire more service workers responsible for cleaning the dorms and apartments at the University of California, San Diego has gathered more than 300 signatures. The petition has been circulating on campus and on Facebook for a couple of weeks and has not only gathered support from students but from the Faculty Association of UCSD as well. One would not assume that the University of California,San Diego, a prestigious institution of higher learning would be accused of  exploiting it’s service workers responsible for cleaning the dorms and apartments but this is not the first incident in which UCSD has been accused for  it’s unethical ways of treating it’s service workers.  Last year, Housing and Dining had to ban thousands of dollars worth of steam machines that had injured 28 custodial employees and whom Housing and Dining management had required strength training classes in attempts to help  employees transition to the use of steam machines.

The petition claims that UCSD has been overworking its service workers and failing to provide UCSD students with an adequate  standard of hygienic  cleanliness. According to the petition and interview with Rosa Hernandez, a custodial worker at Warren the new implemented schedule obligates housing workers to clean 10 suits in 3 days on Monday’s, Wednesday’s,  and Friday’s and on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s clean a total of 14 apartments including two more public areas.

Rosa explains how it is impossible to do  a thorough cleaning job when they are short staffed and are face with time limitations. She hopes that the A.S resolution, that will be presented this Wednesday at  the A.S of  UCSD board meeting will successfully pass to pressure the University to make the treatment of workers a priority.

It is quite ironic that UCSD an institution that teaches about global economy and puts in shame countries abroad for their use of cheap labor is taking part in such actions that  have  squandered the quality of living for UCSD’s low-wage housing workers by exploiting their energy and by pushing the bodies of many workers into strenuous conditions.

The petition to raise awareness of the Institution’s unethical practices reminds us similarly to Ramiro’s artwork how often  service workers are rendered invisible and disposable, especially in the most elitist environments. Let us not forget that the labor of this marginalized community allows us to live, learn and teach in healthy, clean, safe environment.


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