Letter to the Editor By Melanie Quolke

Published in the Athens Messenger on July 6, 2020, Classified Employee Melanie Quolke writes:

I understand that it is a hard sell considering the events of the world to talk about the injustices faced by the people of Appalachia Ohio. However, when there is injustice, it should always be voiced no matter the circumstances of the day. The recent “modernization” efforts from the Nellis Administration has left a strain on our community. But if there is one thing the Classified Staff at Ohio University are known for, it is their strong support of one another in times of need.

We are considered essential workers, the last to be pulled out of the university when the pandemic started and will be the first back in for the Fall. We will be asked to maintain our areas, clean, and make sure it is safe for students while we assume the jobs of the people they fired just months ago with no increase to our pay. The students will be safe, but we will not be safe from them. The cases will increase, our medical system will flood and people will die. This, all because our fearless leaders think the best solution is to be intentionally reckless and negligent in handling the lives and livelihood of their employees. What kind of leader does this? What kind of leader leaves the most vulnerable people behind? What kind of people put a community in such a terrible situation? Bad ones. That’s why I want a union.

I want the choice. I don’t want to be helpless. I want the right to prioritize people over profit. University leadership is using this crisis as a scapegoat to justify layoffs and abolishments which were already set to occur. In fact, this pandemic just seems to have allowed them to speed up their timetable to the detriment of the community. I want a shot at making the lives of the classified employees better because I do not have faith in the current leadership to fight for our best interests. I want hope. I want a seat at the table not only for me, but for all my fellow classified employees who deserve to be heard and deserve better. And for that reason, I am asking all eligible Classified Employees to vote “Yes” in the upcoming election to have our Union, AFSCME Council 8.

Sincerely,

Melanie Quolke, MPA

Find the article here.