Empty campuses mean fewer shifts for work-study students

(Photo by Michelle Rowe-Jardine.)
Many services at Humber have either been adjusted or discontinued during the strike due to the low volume of students on campus. (Photo by Michelle Rowe-Jardine.)

By Michelle Rowe-Jardine

For some people working at Humber College during the strike, it’s business as usual, but for others, there’s little to no business at all.

Since faculty across 24 Ontario colleges went on strike Oct. 16, the workdays of some employees at Humber have been adjusted to suit a campus missing thousands of its daily inhabitants.

Rob Kilfoyle, the Director of Public Safety and Emergency Management, said security has been increased to provide dedicated coverage around the picket lines.

“There have been a few instances of vehicles that have tried to bypass the picket lines by going around them,” he said.

Within the walls of Humber’s North campus, reduced foot traffic has allowed Mike Stallard, the General Manager of custodial services, to focus his staff on other projects.

“We’ve rearranged some staffing levels to get some projects done that we don’t have time to do during the regular school year, it’s usually saved for Christmas break and the summer,” he said.

Custodial staff haven’t had a disruption in their work hours, but Stallard said his staff misses interacting with faculty and students.

“They like the camaraderie,” he said.

The food services sector, however, has experienced work disruptions across the campus.

Outside of the empty Linx Lounge was a sign noting the hours of food services on campus and the ones that are closed altogether during the strike.  The list includes Linx, the Food Emporium, Hawk’s Nest and the GH Café.

Students and staff are still able to go to Java Jazz, Tim Hortons, the Humber Room, Gourmet Express, and the Staff Lounge for food.

Gourmet Express is still open, but full-time employee Grace Regala said there have been few customers.

“Business-wise we’re going way down,” she said.

Regala said her hours haven’t been affected since she works full-time, but the student employees have been averaging only one shift a week.

According to Humber website’s staff directory, Gourmet Express has 20 work-study employees. Work-study students are mainly full-time students who can apply to work on campus in various places for a maximum of 24 hours per week.

Gourmet Express student employee Afreen Khan said during the semester she usually works three days a week. Khan said Gourmet Express is currently her only source of income, but she’s not on the schedule at all next week.

With her income reduced because of her cut hours, Khan said she’s had to spend money from her savings.

“I’m an international student, so I have a lot of expenses, plus rent and food,” she said.

The strike is coming to the end of the second week and bargaining still hasn’t resumed.

“I just really hope it doesn’t affect our whole semester,” Khan said.

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