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Saturday, April 17, 2021
Student Government SG Generic
Student Government SG Generic

Dozens of anonymous people told the same story.

Financial burden. Choosing between rent or food. Playing catch-up from time missed. Feeling undervalued.

At Tuesday night’s Senate meeting, 13 supporters of the Alachua County Labor Coalition read out responses to its survey of UF’s Other Personnel Service, or OPS, employees, who are paid by the hour and are not given benefits.

The survey, which asked about the feelings of OPS employees, was sent out to about 5,000 workers and got 535 responses, said Timothy Tia, a UF economics senior and labor coalition communications organizer and director.

“It is quite frustrating to be reminded how optional you are to the university,” one response said.

Tia said the group was trying to get different voices across campus to support OPS workers, who he said are vital to the university. In November, members met with UF’s faculty senate to ask for support, according to Alligator archives.

The group proposed a resolution asking for Senate to support paying OPS workers for time missed due to Hurricane Irma, and another to reclassify OPS workers out of temporary status if they’ve had the position longer than a year. The resolutions will be heard in the Judiciary Committee in about two weeks, Tia said.

When previously asked about OPS payment for time missed due to Hurricane Irma, Vice President of Human Resources Jodi Gentry said the OPS work agreement says employees are not eligible for paid leave, according to Alligator archives.

Tia said though OPS workers don’t typically get paid for time off, UF could have given the pay.

Vice President of Human Resources Jodi Gentry has previously said the OPS work agreement says employees are not eligible for paid leave, according to Alligator archives.

“If it was a priority for the University of Florida they would have already done it,” the 21-year-old said.

Contact Romy Ellenbogen at rellenbogen@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter at @romyellenbogen.

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