Living Wage Coalition holds first meeting of semester

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January 27, 2011

11:11 PM

At a meeting Monday in Washington Hall, the Living Wage Coalition discussed its plans for the new semester, one which it hopes will include a living wage for workers at the College of William and Mary.

The LWC has been working toward higher levels of compensation for the College’s housekeepers. In the past, methods of gaining support and publicity have included meet-and-greets and making t-shirts, in order to garner support and attention.

Part of Monday’s meeting went to explaining the “escalation plan,” which was targeted at College President Taylor Reveley last semester.

“Doing nothing is a whole lot easier for him,” KB Brower ’11 said. “We had to make obstacles so that doing nothing is harder than having living wages. We started by being as un-confrontational as possible. But since that didn’t work, we need to start doing more confrontational things.”

The meeting was advertised not by numerous posters hanging around campus, but by the coalition’s newsletter, the Living Wage Press, the first issue of which was published Monday. The newsletter contained a lengthy summary of the organization’s past and present initiatives, and outlined the movement’s overall philosophy concerning living wages.

“We recognize that markets exist outside of human intervention,” the document said. “A living wage shifts from the ideology that markets should be free, to the ideology that markets should promote freedom: the freedom for full-time, hard-working employees anywhere to make enough money to pay the rent and send their children to college. A living wage, in the end, is about democracy. It is about bringing the economy back under the control of the people that it affects.”

According to the Living Wage Press, the movement has largely been inspired by coalitions at University of Virginia and Georgetown University, which successfully campaigned for higher wages for their workers.

The LWC made it clear that its goal for the end of the semester is a $15 per hour starting salary for workers.

“The workers have set their goal for the end of this semester to have living wages, so as we get closer to the end of the semester and nothing has been done, we will have to resort to some big, confrontational action,” Brower said.

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