UMES Workers: Protest Through Song - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

UMES Workers: Protest Through Song

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PRINCESS ANNE, Md. -  UMES workers against a proposed outsourcing plan took up their message in song Monday - hoping to catch the ear of University President Dr. Juliette B. Bell.

Their message - delivered with holiday cheer - is simple: Don't out-source our jobs.

"If UMES contracts out dining services, it would push workers from $11.06 an hour to $8.50 an hour, below the poverty level," said Jeff Pittman, spokesperson for American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

The group met with the president last week to voice their concerns, as the university is set to review proposals submitted from vendors in the next few weeks. Today, they put their protest to the tunes of Christmas songs - just across from her front door.

"We're hopeful we can reach a deal, but we're still worried because they said they're still considering contracting these jobs out," Pittman said.

The cafeteria is closed for the holidays, but if the school if the school decides to go with a new vendor in the new year, nearly 70 employees could be forced to reapply for their jobs. It's a thought that leaves John Kenney Sr. uncertain about the future.

"I'm just afraid it might become a domino effect," Kenney said. "Starting with the dining services and maybe trickling to grounds. Who knows."

Their carols may have filled the air, but their audience wasn't there to hear it - President Bell was off campus today.

University officials declined our request to comment, but we were told that if the school does choose to outsource, the change would take effect no later than July 1.

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