United Campus Workers of Virginia at UVA (UCWVA-UVA) has announced it is partnering with student groups to solicit financial and in-kind donations to provide frontline campus workers with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and, in case of renewed furloughs and layoffs as the semester advances, emergency aid. UVA Mutual Aid, UVA Young Democratic Socialists of America, and UCWVA-UVA are organizing this effort, which hopes to collect $3,000 by September 16, to be extended as necessary. UCWVA-UVA is also reiterating demands from its ongoing #ActFastUVA campaign for worker hazard pay and a firing freeze.
The announcement comes after reports from workers of limited and insufficient PPE after UVA’s August 28th decision to press ahead with On Grounds learning, and fears over firings and furloughs should UVA be forced to close due to rising Covid cases. Of the shortages and concerns about job insecurity, UCWVA steering committee member Rosa Hamilton said, “It is deeply concerning that workers are fearing for their jobs and personal health after all of UVA’s reassurances, and points to more of the same lack of transparency and preparedness which has defined the university’s response to this crisis. And all of this after deciding to press ahead with in-person classes, a decision opposed by workers, students, and Charlottesville including UVA’s own Student Council, Mayor Nikuyah Walker and the Charlottesville Human Rights Commission, and UCWVA-UVA.” Despite the pandemic, the university has so far not announced plans to provide hazard pay for in-person workers or institute a firing freeze.
Financial donations are being accepted at UCWVA’s GoFundMe page until September 16, to be extended as necessary. Those looking to make in-kind PPE donations should email UCWVA-UVA for drop-off info at firstname.lastname@example.org. University employees may get in touch at the same email address with any questions or requests for equipment. All employees, whether employed by UVA directly or by a third party contractor, are eligible for aid.
About UCWVA-UVA: United Campus Workers of Virginia is a union of public university employees in the state of Virginia, recently founded at UVA with plans to expand to other state campuses. UCWVA-UVA is a wall-to-wall union, meaning all the University’s direct employees (graduate students, undergraduate student workers, medical workers, faculty, staff) can join. It currently has members from all of these employment backgrounds. UCWVA-UVA’s #ActFastUVA campaign, launched on August 24th, calls on UVA to abandon in-person classes, use its extensive financial resources to ensure the health and financial stability of UVA workers and students, and adopt demands from anti-racist and Covid-related campaigns at UVA and in Charlottesville such as the Black Student Alliance, UVA YDSA, and Black Lives Matter – Charlottesville. UCWVA can be reached via email at email@example.com, or on Twitterand Facebook. Further campaign info can be found at their website, www.ucwva.org.