Archive for February, 2007

Workers Rights Board Hearing

Tonight was the meeting of the Vermont Workers Rights Board hearing chaired by Senator Bernie Sanders. Other notable attendees included Mayor Bob Kiss, Representatives Rachel Weston, Jason Lorber, Chris Pearson, and Mark Larson, and Professor Jane Knodell. There were others but I can’t remember everyone who was there! The hearing was excellently put together by the Vermont Workers Center and the VT Livable Wage Campaign of the Peace & Justice Center.

Max and I testified on UVM and why we need to pay a livable wage to all workers, guarantee the freedom to organize, and enact responsible contractor agreements. I spoke on livable wages and max on the other two demands. What follows is my statement:

My name is Sam Maron. I’m a UVM student, an SGA Senator and co-president of Students for Peace and Global Justice, and the Student Labor Action Project. I am here to talk about why the University of Vermont needs to pay a real livable wage to all of its workers right now. We have been asking the tough questions and putting the pressure on for over two years. In that time we have seen all-campus emails boasting about how great UVM employment practices are and that we now take “basic needs” into account when figuring compensation. We have seen a completed bipartisan Basic Needs Task Force recommendation urging UVM to pay a livable wage. We have seen that recommendation be denied and refused by President Fogel. We have seen small improvements in some workers wages, and they are welcome. But the real issue is not just an increase, but an increase to a livable wage.

Workers can’t eat prestige. A livable wage is a basic right. To show our workers that we truly care, we must provide them with enough for a decent standard of living. The UVM Board of Trustees just announced that tuition will be increasing by 6% per year for the next 10 years. Last month, President Fogel announced that UVM had exceeded its endowment campaign goals, and that we had raised over $250 million. UVM is not poor, we have the resources, we just lack the will of the administration. We have heard the words and the rhetoric, yet have seen little real action.

Last year, the Workers Rights Board sent a letter to President Fogel supporting SLAP’s proposals. I am asking you to once again do the same. We can win a livable wage for all of UVM’s wonderful employees. Change will come when the community gets together as we are tonight and demands it! Thank you very much for your support!


SLAP Working hard, and Weeks of Education

We had our first Tuesday meeting this week, as well as a sunday meeting earlier. We began planning the rest of the semester. Before spring break (which starts March 10th), we will be holdnig two weeks of education. The focus of these weeks will be raising awareness among students. There will teach-ins and tabling. This is all building to the after spring-break activities…

The 2nd and 3rd weeks after spring break are Weeks of Action for Livable Wages at UVM! With rallies, speakouts, actions, and lots of fun, we will be escalating the pressure on President Fogel and UVM to pay a real livable wage now!

More updates soon… see you on tuesday at 8…

Statement read at the February Board of Trustees Meeting

February 9th, 2007

Ladies and Gentleman of the Board of Trustees. We are here to once again demand that UVM pay a real livable wage now. We are workers and students committed to justice and to making UVM as great as it can be. With the completion of our 250 million dollar campaign, we know UVM has the money. The Basic Needs Task Force said that UVM should pay a livable wage. The students say that UVM should pay a livable wage, and of course, the workers say that UVM should pay a livable wage. The people with the power to make this most necessary of changes are in this room today.

A livable wage is about basic needs. To pay anything other than a livable wage is to ignore the everyday needs of the workers of this University. Without the workers, there wouldn’t be electricity to run that projector, there wouldn’t be heat, the tables wouldn’t be set up, and the floor wouldn’t be vacuumed. Workers are as much a part of this University as the faculty and the students, and they deserve respect. A worker is a worker whether they are hired by the University or contracted out. We cannot differentiate between the two, they all have needs, and families and the right to a livable wage.

We have heard the rhetoric and read the reports. It is time for UVM to take a stand and join the rising number of schools that have implemented livable wages. We are students, we are taught to question the world around us and we demand that action be taken. We will not continue to sit by while year after year goes by and the workers continue to suffer. At Tent City last year, the UVM community came together and showed their support and solidarity. Now is the time for UVM to make history and rise to the top. UVM needs a livable wage NOW!

Working hard.

At SLAP’s last meeting on thursday, we worked through some plans and hammered out a tentative schedule for the rest of the semester. Naked protests, weeks of action, the livable wages forum… It’s all coming up soon. Watch out…

Join the new facebook group: UVM needs a livable wage now!

Welcome to the weblog of the Student Labor Action Project, a campaign of Students for Peace & Global Justice, at the University of Vermont! Here you will find up to date goings on of SLAP, your local worker-student solidarity collective!
February 2007
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