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At Wednesday’s Graduate Student Organization Senate meeting, three graduate students shared their experiences as international students working in Syracuse University’s food services and their plans to form a union for better pay and better contracts.
SU has about 750 graduate students working in food services, said Bertram Probyn, a state senator and member of the Graduate Student Employment Affairs Committee. He said 350 of the 750 students who work in the five cafeterias and food courts on campus are considering forming a union.
Probyn and graduate students Hussein Swasrawala and Vinay Desiraju presented research they conducted last spring in collaboration with GEIC and testimonies about food workers’ workplace experiences.
Probyn said that at the time the study was conducted, general food service workers were making $15.30 an hour and student instructors were making $16.16 an hour. As of this semester, the same position was paying slightly more at $15.75 an hour and his at $17.10, Probyn added. Probyn said 55% of those surveyed said they worked in more than one place or had a second job.
International students on F-1 visas can only work 20 hours a week on campus, said Swasrawala, who is pursuing a master’s degree in engineering management and works at Brockway Dining Hall.
Speakers said food service management teams offer little flexibility or leniency, given that most of the employees are master’s students and have many jobs and responsibilities. Ta.
“We are students first and workers second,” Desirage said. “We should absolutely prioritize coursework, exams, and curriculum, but this feels completely pointless. It is impossible for us to work such shifts even though we are not allowed to sub more than once. ”
According to Probyn, the survey found that only 4% of restaurant workers felt that management was approachable.
“We are international students,” Desiraju said. “We came here with dreams of living the American life, the American dream, and we accept and work any part-time job that is offered to us. It’s getting worse and sadder. This has to change and we need GSO voices on our side to support our efforts.”
Desirage said there were “unhygienic working conditions” from his time working in food service. In the past, he said administrators draped him with a wet rag to make sure it was “sufficiently wet,” and another time he was asked to remove a student’s AirPods from a trash can with his “bare hands.”
“I feel like just because we were offered a part-time job,[food service administrative workers]can manipulate us into doing things we shouldn’t do, because student workers have no formal Because there is no job description,” says Desiraju. He said.
Towards the end of the meeting, senators made a motion to extend all future meetings to exactly three hours from their start time, in response to part of the GSO Constitutional Amendment Resolution.
Kimmel “rejected” the motion, saying it was “not consistent with the rest of the constitutional document.” The motion will be considered by the Rules and Regulations Committee and reconsidered at its next meeting on March 6 in Kittredge Auditorium at Huntington Beard Krause Hall.
Published February 8, 2024 at 1:38am
Contact Claire: [email protected]