Student Coalition Kicks Off Campaign to Drop Daycon

This truck was delivering cleaning supplies to the Engineering Complex and is driven by a scab, or worker that was illegally hired to permanently replace a striking union worker.

This truck was delivering cleaning supplies to the Engineering Complex and is driven by a scab, or worker that was illegally hired to permanently replace a striking union worker.

Students from two campus groups, Feminism Without Borders and College Park Students for a Democratic Society, delivered demand letters to two university officials calling on the University of Maryland to end its contractual relationship with Daycon, a cleaning supplies manufacturing and delivery company. Daycon has come under fire for numerous violations of labor law after it refused to engage in good faith collective bargaining with its Teamsters-represented workers, prompting 55 workers to go on strike in April. Students say that tuition and tax dollars shouldn’t fund a company that violates the rights of its workers and hurts Maryland families.

From The Diamondback, the University of Maryland’s campus newspaper:

“The fight for workers’ rights is a fight for basic dignity and human rights,” said Mary Yanik, president of Feminism Without Borders. “As a very prestigious university, we shouldn’t be dealing with a company that violates [labor] laws.”

The National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint on Daycon’s “unfair practices,” and the company will face the criticism at a Nov. 17 trial. Daycon representatives declined to comment on the issue.

Although it only would have taken one student to deliver the letters, about 10 walked into the administration building as a group to emphasize the presence of students on this campus who are concerned about the issue, said SDS member Jon Berger. The senior government and politics major added Farvardin was out of his office at the time, but the students did have the chance to speak directly with Stirling.

“This is something that we will look into and consult with legal counsel,” said Stirling, who has begun an investigation on the allegations about the company – such as their illegal refusal to accept employees’ unconditional offers to return to work – mentioned in the students’ letters.

Stirling said it was difficult to speculate on the outcome of the investigation, adding that his department would “deal with [termination] if and when it happens.”

Students involved said they hope the university will ultimately drop Daycon as a vendor and added a show of campus support could help make that happen.

“The administration won’t take a role in these actions unless students are involved,” Yanik said. “The student element is key if we want to get something done. We have that power and have to use it.”

Doug Weber, the business manager of the union of which the Daycon strikers are members, said the involvement of universities – as major customers of the company – will have a lasting impact.

“I think a lot of people are reconsidering their contracts with Daycon,” he said. “Hopefully, when we get to the bottom line, wherever that may be, Daycon’s going to think, ‘Hey, we need to take a look at what we’re doing here.'”

He said the workers now spend their days alternating shifts picketing at various locations. Berger said Daycon’s actions violate the procurement and supply department’s mission statement, which includes a goal to ensure all business on the campus is conducted in compliance with laws and regulations.

The University Administration was given one week to respond with actions the Administration would take to remedy this issue.

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