“We are here not only because of the awful conditions of the workers at USC, but because the struggle for breaking down those conditions is entwined with a greater struggle for the political power of the working class,” Rico-Gomez said. “We hope that the contract that the workers are fighting for is passed.” One speaker said at the protest that the University allocated funds unequally to administrators and lower wages for the workers. An estimated 800 housing and hospitality workers at USC have partnered with Unite Here Local 11, a union for workers in Southern California and Arizona, to negotiate contracts with the University. The negotiations began last week, when Unite Here Local 11 negotiator Austin Lynch presented workers’ demands for increased wages and consistent working hours to University administration. Alejandro Rico-Gomez, a freshman majoring in fine arts who attended the protest, said students’ own backgrounds make the workers’ rights issue hit close to home. He said it was important for all members of the working class to unite on behalf of those struggling, saying that staff, students and faculty should come together to fight against what he called an oppressive administration. “It is a distribution problem; it’s not a resource problem,” he said. “How can a school with a $5 billion endowment say that they don’t have the capital to pay their workers? A school that is constantly expanding, gentrifying the surrounding neighborhood, adding to the increasing homeless population of Los Angeles — how can they say they don’t have the capital to pay their workers?” Ariann Barker, a freshman majoring in writing for screen and television, spoke at the protest and said she believes that under current conditions, workers’ rights are being infringed upon by insufficient pay and housing challenges. “We believe the university offers competitive compensation and exemplary benefits that make it a place people want to work,” the University wrote in a statement to the Daily Trojan. “We look forward to continued discussions with the union’s bargaining team and working together toward a new contract.” More than 25 students gathered in front of Tommy Trojan Thursday afternoon to denounce the University’s treatment of hospitality employees in the wake of a contract negotiation that began Nov. 13. The students held signs that read “We stand with the workers of USC” and “Workers of the world unite.” At the demonstration, protesters spoke about workers’ holiday hours cuts and housing expenses. They alleged that the University owns many of its employees’ residences and charges them by the bed, making rent too expensive for staff with larger families. Several of the students requested not to be identified, saying that the protest emphasized communal leadership and that allowing any individual to speak for the group would be counterproductive to the goal of the protest. During the protest, students walked from Tommy Trojan to the Tutor Campus Center until an operations coordinator asked that they relocate to avoid disrupting nearby students and blocking the TCC entrance. The protesters then walked across McCarthy Quad before stopping at USC Village, where they continued to chant and made speeches using a megaphone before returning to the center of campus. According to the University, USC has negotiated contracts with Local 11 in the past and expects to do so in this case as well. “The workers that work in [USC] Village, the workers that work to scan your food in the dining hall, the workers that work in the [Customer Service Centers], who clean your room — everyone in this space has not been given the rights that they are guaranteed,” Barker said. As they marched, students chanted, “Racist, classist, neofascist” and “Hey hey, ho ho, subcontract has got to go,” referring to the University’s custodial services subcontract with Aramark, which one of the student speakers alleged works in the private prison industry. According to Aramark’s website, the company does not operate correctional facilities or penitentiaries but provides meals to inmates in 500 correctional facilities around the United States. More than 25 students gathered to protest the treatment of USC staff during a contract negotiation that began Nov. 13. (Ally Wei | Daily Trojan) Rico-Gomez said he learned about the protest on social media. The protest organizers spread the word using an Instagram account called Active Change USC that became active in the week preceding the protest and posted about the workers’ rights issues discussed at the protest. Students also placed flyers about the protest in residence halls and around campus.
by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow â€” Thursday was a big day at the Wellington Recreation Center. The new rec center which has been in the making for 20 years officially had its grand opening and ribbon cutting Thursday afternoon.The new addition features a new fitness center, meeting rooms, and other amenities. The fitness center has been open since late May.Â â€œI think we might have toured every building that was available over the past 20 years,â€ said Hankie Holefelder, Wellington Recreation Commission member to a crowd of 50 or so people including present and past WRC board members.Exercise equipment galore at the new Wellington Fitness Center.Originally proposed in 1994, the WRC board has looked at various locations from the old Apple Market grocery store building to the church that once housed the First Southern Baptist Church, to the Tibbs Furniture building and even the Wellington Junior High. In November 2008, WRC proposed refurbishing Memorial Auditorium to the city voters which was soundly defeated.In the end, WRC officials chose the same location.Holefelder credited former WRC member Lonnie Cooper for the decision to expand from the old facility.“We kept looking elsewhere and he kept telling us to stay put,” Holefelder said.Wellington Recreation Commission Executive Director Cody White and board member Hankie Holefelder speaking before group Thursday.The general public got to tour the new two-story rec facility at the 200 block of West Lincoln which includes a new weight room, treadmill and stationary bike room, other fitness rooms, locker rooms, conference rooms, art rooms, and offices. Even the old part of the rec center looks almost unrecognizable.The ceremony brought an array of chamber and city officials, although nobody from the Wellington school board was present.Members of the present and past WRC Board, from left: Lonnie Cooper, Shawn DeJarnett, former WRC Director Kenny Everhart, Hankie Holefelder, Cathy Mitchell and Tami McCue. In November 2013,Â the Wellington City Council acted as a guarantor which directed the Wellington Public Building Commission to issue 20 year bonds not to exceed $990,000 for a $1.89 million Wellington Recreation Commission Center expansion. This came at no expense to the city, but will be paid through the existing 5 mill levies designed to the WRC over the next 20 years.The Fitness Center has been in operation for 20 years Â – all of those on the second floor of Memorial Auditorium.For more pictures of the ceremony and fitness center click here.Follow us on Twitter. Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments (3) Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings Sort by: Date Rating Last Activity Loading comments… You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. +3 Vote up Vote down Small Town Boy · 266 weeks ago The place looks great! Report Reply 0 replies · active 266 weeks ago -2 Vote up Vote down yodo497 · 266 weeks ago SO WAS THERE MORE BUILT THAN JUST A FITNESS CENTER FOR THE ADULTS, LOOKS LIKE THEY COULD OF ADDED MORE FOR THE KIDS TO DO. Report Reply 1 reply · active 266 weeks ago +4 Vote up Vote down Guest · 266 weeks ago Go check it out. They have a new art center for kids, the teen center/game room and concessions area have been greatly improved. Report Reply Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments