A delegation of ten Becker College facilities workers and twenty community supporters sought to meet with college president Robert Johnson on Wednesday to discuss concerns regarding health care eligibility and allegations of wage theft. Although President Johnson wasn’t available, the delegation hand delivered a letter calling on management to immediately begin providing health care insurance for all eligible workers. The workers also went to the Human Resources office to request a copy of the college’s health care plan. “It is simply unconscionable that Becker is not providing workers eligible for health insurance with that benefit,” said Rosa Ortiz, a five-year housekeeper who signed the letter to President Johnson.A second concern is wage theft – for example cheating workers out of their vacation time or only paying straight time on holidays. “If someone works at Becker and is eligible for benefits, they should receive them,” said Mayra Cruz, a seven-year housekeeper from Worcester who recently filed a wage theft complaint with the Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division. The workers were accompanied by representatives from the Worcester Central Labor Council, Jobs with Justice, Neighbor to Neighbor, Worcester Community Labor Coalition and leaders from SEIU Local 888.
“Fair wages and proper health care coverage are just two topics among many that the collective bargaining process would give us a meaningful voice in,” said Craig Moreau, a six-year maintenance employee at Becker. “That’s why we are hoping President Johnson will refrain from tearing down our efforts to make long overdue improvements in our working conditions.” The union letter requested a reply from President Johnson regarding management’s willingness to address these issues. “We are proud to stand with the Becker College workers who have been forming a union with SEIU Local 888 since March of this year,” said local president Mark DelloRusso. “By uniting in a union, Becker’s staff is now in a better position to work with management to make the college a success.