Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Been sort of following this and I know enough to put the pieces together. Former Clinton HHS Secretary Donna Shalala is the president of the University of Miami. The janitors there just walked off the job demanding higher pay. Shalala, who recently claimed "spent much of her public career as an advocate for the poor" isn't doing much to advocate for these poor, who earn about $6.50/hr without benefits.

More from the Miami Herald:

Zoila Garcia has the toughest job at the University of Miami.
From 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., five nights a week, she washes windows, cleans desks and picks up the potato chip bags and used condoms that students leave behind in the library.
''Ay mamita! And when they decide to draw on those tables, it's scrub scrub scrub,'' Garcia said.
When she returns to her mobile home off Southwest Eighth Street just after dawn, she takes the pills she gets through a Jackson clinic. Some are for high blood pressure. One is for the pain in her arms.
For now, there's nothing to be done about a blood clot that formed on her calf and blackened the leg from knee to ankle. She needs an operation. But when the doctor told her it would cost $4,000, she laughed. ``Where do you get that kind of money?''
Garcia, who makes $6.70 an hour, has no health insurance.
Sunday, janitors voted to strike for better pay and insurance from the company that hires them to clean at UM. They began walking out overnight.

Two weeks ago, The New York Times Magazine printed an interview with Shalala, who was photographed amid the splendor of her 9,000-square-foot presidential residence, where she lives with her dog, Sweetie.
In the interview, Shalala describes, among other things: ''Her perfect day'' (which begins with someone giving the university a $10 million donation and ends with her playing three sets of tennis), ''What she drives'' (a Lexus hybrid SUV), ''Favorite vacation spot'' (the kingdom of Bhutan) ''Her best recent purchase'' (a 1790 French country cabinet) and ''Possession that best defines her'' (a personal drawing by Susan Kapilow).

You can call her at (305) 284-5155 and request she be an advocate for the poor since she has the power to do so.