Pressure Mounts on President Loh to Drop Daycon

There has been a flurry of activity over the past few months as students organize, demanding President Loh drop Daycon.  Daycon manufactures and delivers cleaning supplies to the University of Maryland, and has a three year contract worth over $1 million for each year of service that expires in December.  Workers have been on strike since April of last year, protesting Daycon’s refusal to bargain in good faith with the workers’ union, Teamsters Local 639.  Daycon sneaked out of bargaining in the presence of a federal mediator last April, and has refused to negotiate with the workers’ union since.

The workers won a victory in February when a federal judge ruled that Daycon had violated the law and must immediately reinstate all of its workers, who made an unconditional offer to return to work in June.  However, Daycon has since appealed, denying the workers the back pay that Daycon was ordered to pay.  Also, more than 20 workers have still not been reinstated and remain out of work.

At the beginning of April, several workers came to UMD to speak to over 70 concerned students, faculty, and community members about how Daycon’s actions have affected their lives.  One worker spoke about how his health insurance was cut off by Daycon when he was in the hospital recovering from surgery; another worker is struggling to afford medication that he needs for his eyes.  If you missed the event, you can watch the workers speak here!

After the speak out, students rallied on McKeldin Mall to ask President Loh to immediately act against Daycon to relieve the workers’ suffering.  Three students met with President Loh shortly.  Loh stated that he sympathized with the workers’ situations, but was unwilling to take action because of legal concerns.  Though the University’s contract with Daycon states that UMD may terminate at any time when it is in the best interest of the University, Loh has maintained that this does not permit the University to terminate the contract.

President Loh, Drop Daycon Now!

Last week, during Loh’s inauguration, students fliered the main event to bring the violations of workers’ rights to the attention of alumni and supporters of the University.  Several attendees were shocked that the University still has a business relationship with this tainted company, and were concerned about possible consequences for the University of Maryland’s reputation as a leader in social justice.

Finally, this Saturday students were also present at Maryland Day, a community event that attracted close to 100,000 visitors to campus.  Students fliered on the mall and spoke with concerned community members.  Also, a banner was dropped right behind a stage that featured musical performances with hundreds of spectators.  The banner was up for all of Saturday and Sunday, but was removed Sunday night by the University.

On Tuesday, several students from the Drop Daycon coalition will meet with President Loh in his office to demand that the University take immediate action against Daycon.

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