Monday, November 16, 2009

Emeka Onyeagoro

Emeka Onyeagoro
Candidate for HUCTW
Union Rep, Widener

I'm running for Widener Rep because of my strong commitment to social justice. For nearly two decades I've participated in community-oriented activism and organizing. As a Union Rep, I will keep employees updated about union resources and actions. I'll also do everything I can to help union members who have problems on the job.

Before I joined HUCTW, I was elected Shop Steward here at Harvard, as a Security Officer in SEIU (Service Employees' International Union) local 615. I acted as a source of information, and investigated and handled grievances. I won major, precedent-setting cases, including reversing terminations, and recovered union members' lost wages and vacation days. I fought for and won unemployment benefits and back pay for my fellow workers. I also served on the union negotiating team at our contract talks with management, which achieved seniority rights, much-improved wages, and an effective grievance procedure with arbitration, among other benefits.

During the struggle for our first contract, I helped organize large "living wage" rallies on campus. I worked closely with pro-labor students, and with members of HUCTW who supported the security officers. I maintain those links today, and believe that cross-union solidarity and work with sympathetic student organizations can help HUCTW too! We are always strongest when we stand together.

Recently I have participated in the No Layoffs Campaign, initiated by activists in HUCTW. I feel our union should publicly oppose layoffs. We need to make sure that the laid-off workers get rehired! I also believe we should push strongly for seniority rights, which help prevent age discrimination, and make jobs worth keeping, in our next contract. A no layoffs clause in the contract would be a big step forward, and I will advocate for this. Harvard still has incredible resources and I believe we should bargain from a position of strength, and push for good raises and a cost-of-living adjustment, which we need in such an expensive city.

On December 8, I hope you will consider voting for me, and the other members of the No Layoffs Campaign. Together we will win! Please feel free to contact me at