Associated Student Government (ASG) passed a resolution supporting in-person union representation at new employee orientations during senate session April 2. Senators also held a Q&A session with Senior Director of Food and Beverage Geno Svec.
Though the executive cabinet restructuring bill received enough support to be introduced, it was not brought to the floor due to concern that senators were being unduly influenced, said Meaghan Murtagh, student body president.
Senators Adrian Radilla and Bobby Adler authored the resolution, which calls for a representative from any and all unions associated with university employees — such as the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and the Fraternal Order of Police — to be present at all employee orientations.
Radilla and Adler were unable to speak with any union representatives while researching the legislation due to laws against union and management collusion, though they did speak to some university employees.
The resolution was met with resistance from some senators who did not think it was ASG’s place to pass legislation on issues that do not necessarily affect students. Radilla responded that he felt it was important that senate acknowledge the “economic situation we’re living in.”
“I don’t see the con to this. Either you support these workers or you do not,” Radilla told senate.
Senate voted to approve the resolution with 21 for, 17 against and two abstentions.
Svec clarified some misconceptions about staffing and food waste when it comes to Miami’s dining program, namely that low wages are deterring students and community members from applying to dining jobs and that the program fails to donate enough extra food, and explained the difficulties he encounters with his work.
“It’s the hardest job in the world because everyone has an opinion about food, and there’s 13,000 of you,” Svec said.
Senators asked Svec if he believes the issues Miami has with staffing dining halls stem from low wages.
Svec said the program had ruled that out as a possibility after completing a wage study last year and raising student wages by one dollar.
Svec also discussed his efforts to reconfigure the dining program to waste as little food as possible, such as introducing batch cooking for buffet lines.
“I am not in business to give food away,” Svec said.