CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- Wednesday, UNC housekeepers rallied and delivered a petition for upgraded safety demands ahead of the new school year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Students are slated to return to the UNC campus on Aug. 10. According to the North Carolina Public Service Workers Union, some departments are providing employees with as few as one to two masks per week.
"This is not about us not working weekends. This is not about wages. This is life and death," said housekeeper Tracy Harter. "We have employees that are afraid to sign a petition. They're afraid to stand up where we are and everything, because they need their jobs."
The union said multiple workers have tested positive for COVID-19 in addition to local health officials finding a cluster within the UNC athletics department earlier this summer.
"I'll put it this way: the total lack of transparency. I think that it sums it up best by saying we feel like we're walking blindfolded through a minefield with clown shoes," said Harter.
"It's not just about the students, it's about the workers," said Penny Elliot, UNC housekeeper crew leader. "I think that is what's getting mixed around that the university is concerned with the students' health but they're not concerned with the workers' health."
Over 300 workers and students signed the petition.
Demands in the petition include:
The petition was handed off to UNC Housekeeping Director Herb Richmond.