Thursday, October 20, 2011

Speak out for a living wage on November 1st

     Some people would say it's crazy to call for a living wage in this economy. Maybe it is a little crazy. But I'll tell you something else - it's working.

     Because of the activism of workers, students, and community members like you, the University of Memphis has taken first steps toward a living wage for their workers. All of last academic year, the United Campus Workers union, Workers Interfaith Network, and the Progressive Student Alliance publicly pushed the University to move to a living wage for all U. of M. workers. Many of you wrote emails and postcards, made phone calls to the University. You lobbied the state legislature. You took part in a speak out on campus, a prayer vigil, and a rally to deliver the hundreds of postcards you gathered for President Shirley Raines.

    The result? After four years of no pay raises, the University implemented a raise of 3% or $750 a year, which ever was greater. The $750 option, called a flat dollar minimum raise, is important because it's especially targeted to low-wage workers. Many custodial workers and other low-wage workers ended up getting 3 times as big of a raise because of this new approach. And it was an approach raised by activists like you!

   The University has also just implemented a one time $1,000 bonus for most full-time workers.
   But before you assume that our work is done, I also want to stress that many current workers at the University still make far below a living wage. Plus, the University has not changed any of its practices or policies about what new workers are paid when they are hired. Many new positions still pay just above minimum wage.

    That's why workers need you to come to a Living Wage Speak Out on Tuesday November 1st at 6:00 p.m. in Brister Hall Room 220.

    At the Speak Out, you'll:
  • learn about what pay and working conditions are like for workers right now.
  • understand how the first steps toward a living wage were won last academic year.
  • get involved in efforts this academic year to push the University to take further steps to a living wage.
  • hear from activists in the successful Vanderbilt University campaign for a living wage.
    Directions to Brister Hall: Brister is located on Alumni Ave., near the intersection of Alumni and Patterson St. There are two ways you can enter the building. If you are entering from the Alumni Ave. entrance, you will already be on the second floor when you enter. If you are entering from Wilder Tower (which is attached to Brister Hall), you will need to turn left at the elevators and go up 1 flight of stairs to get to the 2nd floor of Brister Hall.

    Parking info: A few metered spaces are available for visitors in the lot at Mynders and Patterson. There are also metered spots available in the large parking lot across the railroad tracks on Southern. Garage parking is available for $2 an hour in the garage on Zach Curlin, next to Campus School. You may also be able to find free street parking along Walker or Zach Curlin.
   View a University of Memphis campus map.

Help strengthen WIN's work for a living wage. Become a Workers Interfaith Network member today.

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