Nadine Milne has been a residential aide at Haskell Indian Nations University for nine years. In that time, Milne said the number of aides has been cut by 50 percent.
She said some dormitories that house more than 300 students, such as Roe Cloud Hall, have three residential aides to cover the 24-hour shifts.
Sonya Bonga, steward with the Federation of Indian Service Employees, said the eight dorms on campus should have a minimum of 25 dormitory assistants, but there are only 13.
LeRoy Kelly, chief steward with FISE, said understaffing is a concern among students and faculty.
“There’s too many students for not enough people to run those facilities,” Kelly said.
Haskell President Linda Warner said she felt the staffing was adequate in the dormitories.
“People in the dorms are adults,” she said. “The staff is there for emergencies. We don’t need a 1 to 10 ratio over there.”
To raise awareness about their concerns at Haskell, FISE members organized a picket Wednesday at 23rd Street and Barker Avenue. They will be picketing again from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and from noon to 1 p.m. Friday.
The protesters claim Warner has disregarded union issues and fails to communicate with union members.
“If we could just get her to communicate with us, we wouldn’t have to be out here,” Bonga said.
But Warner said she meets once a month with FISE members. She added, “LeRoy has an open door” to visit with her.
Warner said she received the flier outlining the union’s complaints Monday, and sent a response by e-mail to the entire staff Tuesday.
“I think most people understand that the issues have been addressed or are being addressed,” Warner said. “That’s why there’s only 10 people out there out of the 228 employees.”
The picketing has upset some seniors who will graduate Friday.
“There are milestones in everyone’s life and this is one of ours,” said Becca Baseside, senior. “I think that they really stole the limelight from the students by picketing this weekend.”
Baseside has filed a complaint with FISE to prevent its protest Friday. She said the union hasn’t contacted her about a decision.