Rally cry: Students must fight for campus food staff

By: Duke Staff

Dear Duquesne students: Pitt students are better than you.

No, we aren’t talking about basketball fandom — that’s a topic for another day. Instead, The Duke staff would like to encourage students here to care more about how the workers they interact with are treated.

In January, University of Pittsburgh students hosted a rally for their food workers, who are campaigning for higher wages and better benefits. The students recognized that the workers they loved were in jeopardy of losing their jobs or receiving wage cuts, so they rallied to show support.

The Parkhurst employees at Duquesne are now in the midst of their own contract negotiations, and it is unclear what the results will be for some of the most beloved workers on campus. Who hasn’t enjoyed a perfect omelette from Derek or gotten a smile from Miss Debbie?

These men and women interact with us every single day. They know us personally, and they ask us how our days are going. They care about us.

And now, it’s time for us to care about them.

But caring isn’t something that comes easy for the Duquesne student body. If it does, that’s not evident in any physical, meaningful manifestation. We are fatally apathetic, and it only takes a glance at the lacking support behind Duquesne’s sports teams and its adjunct faculty to realize that.

But this is an opportunity to change the indifference. Everyone at this school should feel passionate about the Parkhurst negotiations because it affects us directly. Students look forward to the positivity these workers radiate, and that will be gone if we don’t do something about it.

Making our voices heard is simple. But it needs to be more than just complaining to friends in the elevator about how bad dinner at Towers was last night. Boycotting isn’t an option, either; Parkhurst runs every food joint on campus, so the company won’t know if something’s wrong unless we tell them.

Parkhurst has suggestion cards in Towers and at other dining locations. It also has an office on the third floor of the Union.

The next time you consider leaving a passive-aggressive note card in Towers about lukewarm pizza, consider also telling Parkhurst Dining that you are interested in Duquesne workers receiving a living wage and health benefits.

It doesn’t matter how we do it. It just matters that we choose to make a difference.

It’s time to become an energetic campus that is concerned about the people we interact with each day.