AFSCME Issues Statement Concerning the Mistreatment of Workers at Kutztown University

Since the publication of our exposé on the mistreatment of workers at Kutztown University, more workers are coming forward to tell their stories to Raging Chicken Press. Our first article highlighted the resignation of Kutztown’s former Campus Grounds Supervisor, Cory Lapp, and his letter to the university’s top administrators documenting the ways managers in the Facilities department sought to “belittle, demean, suppress, {and} beat down” workers and anyone else who refused to tow their abusive management style.

Next week, we will publish the second in a series of articles on the workplace conditions at Kutztown University, focusing on the ways top Facilities managers – in particular, Kim Rhode, Will Meeker, and Jeff Grimm – sought to intimidate and control workers, using what one worker called the “three ring circus” of the Facilities department, the Social Equity Office, and the Human Resources department.

In preparation for that first article, I made several attempts to reach out to the local AFSCME leadership for comment – in fact, I have been unsuccessful in my attempts to get any local AFSCME official to talk to me about the conditions at KU on the record.

However, early today Raydene Harwick, a Staff Representative from AFSCME District Council 88 emailed me with a response to my original article. Given the number of questions I have received asking about AFSCME’s perspective on my story and the on-going mistreatment of their members at Kutztown, I wanted to provide her response in full. Here it is:


AFSCME has no comment to the allegations regarding the employee treatment by Kutztown managers referenced in your previous article as we have outstanding grievances pending deliberation through the contractual process bargained for the members.

AFSCME has filed grievances in the past, which were remedied appropriately under the contractual process, for every member who reported same or similar allegations by management to the Union.

AFSCME encourages every member who has directly experienced or witnessed acts of discriminatory or disparate treatment by management to report same to the Union so the appropriate action can be taken.

Raydene Harwick

Raydene Harwick, Staff Rep
AFSCME District Council 88 / AFL-CIO

As Raging Chicken Press talks with more current and former workers about their experiences at Kutztown Univesity we will continue to seek comment from both the university and AFSCME. However, our primary goal remains to provide a space to bring the conditions of everyday people – workers, activists, and community members – to light.


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3 Comments on AFSCME Issues Statement Concerning the Mistreatment of Workers at Kutztown University

  1. Of course AFSME would issue the statement that it did. It says we have many past and present grievances filed, however it does not mention how the mistreatment was allowed to happen over and over again. The grievances being filed is a after thought. Management relied on, we will do what we want to, when we want to and wait to see what AFSCME will do about it . In what place of employment with a active union shop does management have that type of power. I wonder how many grievances have been filed against this management team of Kim Rhode, Jeff Grimm and Will Meeker? Both won and lost.

  2. This is not new people , when kimmy rhode and wil meeker , took over the place went to hell , and all parties including cevallos and vargas let it go on , silverman and picus were put on notice several times ,and pena concerning the work environment in facilities depts. Yet no one did what they should of an escort off property .

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