Letter to the Editor: “Due to this pandemic, I cannot work. This is not my choice, I cannot work. I have no money.”

Kevin Luhrs

**Letters to the Editor are written and submitted by Spinnaker readers**
If you would like to submit a letter to the editor, contact us at [email protected]

“I work Event Services at the Student Union and used to work at Spinnaker. During this semester, despite numerous health problems (Hypothyroidism which gives me chronic exhaustion, several psychiatric disorders, back pain etc.) I’ve still come to work every shift to set up. I’ve done it gladly, and the pro staff at the Student Union are absolutely wonderful individuals who have made my job the best first job I ever could have had. I’m eternally grateful for my co-workers and the SU pro staff for giving me the job of Event Services Assistant.

My job involves setting up and breaking down events, such as Market Days, Board of Trustees meetings in the ballrooms, events for clubs etc. Some days, we could be on our feet for four hours or we’re putting up market days. We just don’t know, because it’s such a random job. I live 30 mins away and cannot drive, so I’ve gotten up at 5:20 AM (after not sleeping until 1 due to my insomnia), left at 5:30 with a family member driving me, gotten to work at 6:00, worked a board of trustees meeting until 12 to 1 PM and then went home and passed out on my bed. That’s the work I’ve done for the university and the state.

We deserve credit and credit is always given by the SU pro-staff. It’s not given to us by the state of Florida.

My job has given me purpose when I felt like I had none, and it’s given me dignity because I finally was able to work, my family is devoutly Catholic so “he who shall not work, neither shall he eat” rings true with us, even those family members who are not Catholic or religious. No longer did I need to rely on family members for food or feel like I’m burdening them by asking for $10 or $15 for meals. By getting this job, I’ve been able to feed myself and I worked hard in this job.

Due to this pandemic, I cannot work. This is not my choice, I cannot work. I have no money. I cannot provide for myself. I feel utterly humiliated, emasculated even, and I feel abandoned by the state of Florida. I feel like I’ve served the state only for the state of Florida to turn around and spit in my face during a national emergency. It’s an absolutely asinine law to say that during a national emergency of the gravest consequences, that I cannot receive paid leave for the work I have done for the state of Florida and the university. We deserve to be paid.

I understand that the University is powerless to do anything. I thank the Student Union pro-staff for fighting for us, I thank SG for fighting for us. I condemn the state of Florida for this law. The state should guarantee paid leave to all OPS employees regardless of whether we’re in a national emergency, but especially in a national emergency.

_

For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].