top of page

Housekeepers at N. C. Central University Demands "Hazardous Pay" Amid Covid-19 Outbreak at School

Rev. Dr. Lent C. Carr, II, is the National President, CEO, and Director-counsel Member of the NCVCHR Legal Defense Fund Team. Dr. Carr is also the Leading Investigative Journalist for NCVCHR & Emmaus Corp. Embassy Enterprise Group LLC

Housekeepers at N. C. Central University delivered a petition to a vice chancellor Tuesday, asking for safer work conditions and hazard pay, as COVID-19 cases rise among college students returning to the Triangle.

UNC-Chapel Hill announced Monday it will move all undergraduate classes online after 130 students tested positive for the coronavirus last week, The News & Observer reported.

NCCU, a historically Black university in the UNC system, will continue to operate as planned for the fall semester, with a mix of face-to-face, hybrid and online classes, according to a statement from Ayana Hernandez, associate vice chancellor of communications and marketing.

The campus’ efforts to stop the coronavirus spread “have either stalled or gone backward,” the union representing NCCU workers stated in a news release. The “policy failures inevitably fall hardest on Black and Brown workers’ shoulders,” whose health is disproportionately impacted by the virus, the release states.

“We’re at the point where we don’t feel that the university is taking it serious enough,” said Jeffrey Eaddy, a campus worker and member of the N.C. Public Service Workers Union, UE Local 150.

“The entire housekeeping staff is of brown and Black people,” he added. “We are disproportionately affected with these things because, you know, we are the ones who are doing the job. And a lot of the time, we have to do the job by necessity. We have to go to work.”

As of Tuesday, African Americans account for 24% of coronavirus cases and 31% of deaths in North Carolina, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. About 22% of the state’s population are Black residents.

About 200 campus workers signed the petition, which Eaddy delivered to Zack Abegunrin, the associate vice chancellor of facilities management.

NCCU did not answer any questions or provide a statement to The N&O about campus worker concerns, referring reporters to its website instead.


Eaddy works five days a week cleaning academic buildings at NCCU, he said. He sprays down bathrooms, lobby areas, conference rooms, and other common spaces with cleaning formulas. He wipes down door handles, chairs, and table surfaces with sanitizer.

The petition calls for the school to provide free personal protective equipment, like face masks, gowns, and shields, as well as hand sanitizer before entering buildings. It asks for no touch-time clocks and requests a 25% hazard premium pay.

“If you’re going to get paid for a job, if you’re going to do something that you’re going to call ‘essential,’ then you need to show us that we’re essential,” said Eaddy, who is also an undergraduate student.

Eaddy believes NCCU should release more information on how many tests the university conducts a day and whether the tests include students, faculty, and facilities staff such as himself, he said.

NCCU’s website states only four students, seven employees and one sub-contractor have tested posted for COVID-19 since July 1, 2020. It doesn’t state how many tests the university has done.

The school will randomly test 300 students a week, according to an email to The N&O from Kia Bell, an NCCU spokesperson.

UE Local 150 sued the UNC system on Aug. 10 over unsafe working conditions. Hernandez said NCCU would not respond to any questions about the lawsuit.


The National Congressional Voting Caucus for Human Rights International Organization, "Defend the Human Right @ to public services and the Human Rights of public service workers!"

@Dr. Lent C. Carr, II, National President NCVCHR

22 views0 comments
bottom of page