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!

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2 Responses to “Workers Rights Board Hearing”


  1. 1 Jason P. Lorber February 20, 2007 at 1:39 pm

    You’re right. Workers have so many challenges, and we have so much yet to accomplish.

    A key to our progress is necessarily the involvement and organizing of workers. That’s why it was so important and critical hearing from SLAP and other workers’ rights’ advocates. Your personal stories are what help drive legislation.

    Keep up your great work, and hopefully we’ll pass into law an incrase in the tipped minimum wage and make other progress toward sustaining livable wages for all Vermonters.

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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!
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