Last fall, parts of the University of Florida (UF) have closed for nearly a full work week—once due to Hurricane Irma and again due to the campus visit by white supremacist Richard Spencer. While many of UF's employees were compensated, the University has refused to pay its employees classified as OPS, or “Other Personnel Services”, for the involuntary time off. All told, many of UF’s lowest-paid employees were, in a little over a month, denied hundreds of dollars of pay through no fault of their own, while the University pocketed these lost wages, amounting to several hundred thousand dollars.
This decision highlights UF's unfair treatment of its OPS employees, whom it dubiously refers to as “temporary,” despite the fact that many of them have worked faithfully for UF for many years. OPS workers receive no benefits—not even contributions to their Social Security accounts. Many of them live paycheck-to-paycheck and below the poverty line. Consequently, even small cuts to their pay mean real hardships in their day-to-day lives. As one worker commented, “Having that much time missing from your paycheck means either late bills or no money for food.”