On Saturday, April 27, as students head off campus for this year’s Clam Jam, they will notice members of the maintenance staff participating in a labor rally.

The rally will be held near Fairfield’s main entrance gates, but not on university property, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.

After the meeting with administration twice during the week of April 1, in “a total group effort,” the 33 members of Fairfield University’s maintenance staff – with only two members absent and one abstaining to vote – have voted down the administration’s initial contract offer and have decided to take action.

Although the group is not in agreement with the initial contract offer, they are in agreement for what their next course of action should be.

John Minopoli represents the electrical department of the maintenance staff and assured their demonstration will be peaceful.

“It’s a rally, not a strike, not a protest, just a peaceful demonstration,” Minopoli said.  “It’s just to make the public aware of, you know, to help our families.”

“Should there be a rally or demonstration planned for Saturday, we certainly will respect and not interfere with it,” said Mark C. Reed, senior vice president for administration and chief of staff. “The University, of course, recognizes the right of individuals and members of a union to exercise their rights.”

Although the maintenance staff recognizes students will be heading to the beach this Saturday, they are still calling for student support.

“At least they’ll be up early,” said Ryan Lyddy, representative of the maintenance staff’s department of grounds.

Tim Craig, speaking on behalf of the maintenance staff’s department of carpentry, believes they are doing everything in their power to be as respectful and professional as possible in their demonstrations.

Craig also mentioned that they intentionally refrained from demonstrating during last week’s open house for accepted students because they did not want “to go down a negative path.”

“[Open houses] are a first impression, and what is going on [between maintenance and the administration] is not how we want this university to be seen,” Craig said.

Dr. Jocelyn Boryczka told The Mirror that the maintenance staff has the faculty’s support.

“I heard about the rally planned by the maintenance workers and, speaking for myself as a concerned faculty member, support the workers in the maintenance department in their efforts to achieve a fair and just first contract,” said Boryczka.

According to the maintenance staff, their message is simple.  As Lyddy told The Mirror, “All we want to do is be heard, to get our point across, and be understood.”

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