This Saturday afternoon the Romero Theater Troupe will perform Auraria Custodians Tell Their Story, a play which seeks to air the recent grievances Auraria custodians have had with campus management.
"The theme of [the play] revolves around dignity and respect," says James Walsh, event organizer and UCD History Professor. "We're trying to raise awareness within the UCD community, and hoping that awareness will lead to support."
In addition to specific concerns about decreased wages, increased workloads, worker safety and changes in working hours -- which puts some custodians out of step with RTD schedules, forcing them to sleep on campus -- Auraria Custodians Tell Their Story asserts that, now under new management, these campus workers have been given the brush-off.
"We're hoping for a sincere reaction [from campus management]," says Walsh. "This will be part of a continuing effort to sit down with them and say, 'Okay lets talk about these issues.' All the custodians want is a respectful working relationship, where they are treated with dignity."
Utilizing the technique of organic theater -- an egalitarian approach with no director, operating on a consensus model with untrained writers and actors -- Jim Walsh says this method "keeps the play alive; it's constantly changing."
An UCD instructor for fifteen years, Walsh says he often uses theater techniques when teaching history classes. "That was how the Romero Troupe started, it was so successful in the classrooms that we decided to use it to bring labor and non-traditional history to the public.
"I come from a working-class family myself," he continues. "I have a great respect for hardworking people. So when the opportunity to support workers arrived, I jumped at it. Also, dozens and dozens of faculty members on campus actively want to support these workers in any way they can."
Auraria Custodians Tell Their Story will be sponsored by The Romero Theater Troupe, Colorado WINS, Colorado Jobs with Justice, and the Collective for Social Change. The play begins at 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 10, in the Auraria Campus Science Building 1067. This is a free event. The Auraria Campus is located at Speer Boulevard and Colfax Avenue. Click here for more information.
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