February 2012->February 2006
LWC along with the other members of PAN hold a rally titled “The Real Legacy of MLK”, this rally sought to publicize on King’s focus on issues of economic justice, and their explicit connection to racial equity.
The LWC holds a “lie-in” during a meeting of the Board of Visitors, participants declared that they would not stand up for living wages and accordingly lied down in front of the building they were meeting in. They also tried to enter the building to deliver a letter to President Sullivan, Vice President of Operations Michael Strine and Financial Committee Chair Mark Kington.
The LWC puts up silhouettes on campus representing the workers that have been deprived a voice on grounds. They display quotes from employees describing their personal experiences and quotes from scholarly work and historical figures on the topic of a living wage.
Several representatives of the campaign intercept members of the Board of Visitors before they entered one of their triennial meetings.
The campaign holds a press conference to demand that the University require contractors to reveal the wages they pay their on campus employees, and additionally to release any such information is already has. A copy of the university’s contract with food service provider Aramark obtained by the campaign reveals that Aramark is required to inform the University about the wages it pays its employees, however the University denies having this information.
Representatives of LWC meet with President Sullivan but are unable to win any promises with regards to a living wage for direct employees, contractor pay parity, or even wage transparency for future contracts. The campaign holds a “Day of Action” with participation from numerous student groups and community organizations. President Sullivan announces a “Commitment to Lowest Paid Employees” and in response to claims made by the campaign during the rally the another letter is released by the President’s office. The campaign then released a rebuttal to this second letter.
The campaign organizes a march during a meeting during a Board of Visitor meeting. The campaign describes the march as being in the spirit of collaboration and mutual respect. In the months before BOV meeting the campaign repeatedly sought an audience with the Board of Visitors but was unsuccessful.
The campaign holds a year end rally that is attended by over 300 people. Speakers include Mayor Dave Norris and numerous faculty members. Mayor Norris publicizes the passing of a city council resolution urging all Charlottesville employers, specifically including the university, to pay a living wage. Faculty members announce the formation of a faculty support committee to enable greater faculty involvement with student run Living Wage Campaign. The campaign also announces the release of “Keeping Our Promises”, a comprehensive research document on necessity and practicality of instituting a Living Wage at the University of Virginia.
Members of the Living Wage Campaign are part of a panel for a seminar titled “Living Wage 101”, this seminar is part of the “Class Matters” series organized by Professor Claudrena Harold of the History Department. Information here.
The Living Wage Campaign convinces the Charlottesville City Council to pass a resolution re-iterating their want all employers pay a Living Wage and specifically mentioning UVA as the city’s largest employer.
The Living Wage Campaign sends a delegation to a Charlottesville City Council meeting to seek a City resolution expressing council’s desire for a Living Wage at UVA. On campus they participate in “Employee Appreciation Week”, students eat and chat with workers during the lunch breaks and hold a student-worker pizza party. The Campaign also works with the Human Rights Film Festival and sponsors a showing of the movie “The Take”. Immediately after the showing the film the Campaign holds a letter writing campaign towards President-elect Teresa Sullivan.
A forum is held by the campaign to educate people on a living wage and to develop a strategy for promoting the cause.
Ending a hiatus following the 2006 Madison Hall sit-in the Campaign re-organizes on grounds.
The UVA 17 are all acquitted for charges stemming from the sit-in in April, however Professor Wende Marshall, a faculty supporter, receives a trespassing charge.
The Living Wage Campaign receives the “Social Responsibility Award” from the University of Virginia Faculty for Student Social Responsibility.
The Campaign also commissions a Legal Memo refuting the claim made by the administration that the University cannot enact a living wage policy for public procurement contracts.
Between 200 and 300 people attend a large rally on April 8th, surrounding the University Rotunda as members of the Board of Visitors met inside. On April 11th numerous faculty members sent a letter to President Casteen to push for more progress towards a living wage, see the letter here (uploaded to Dropbox as facultyletter-april11-2006.pdf ).
Frustrated by a lack of significant action on the part of the administration, the campaign spent many of the past weeks planning for direct action on the part of the campaign, a proposed sit-in to be held in Madison Hall. On April 12th seventeen students entered Madison Hall with sleeping bags, food, and their laptops. They sought an audience with President Casteen, upon being denied such a meeting they announced their intent to sit-in. A rally is held on 1 PM on the same day, over 100 people attend and among the speakers is Julian Bond, then-chairman of the NAACP. The sit-in lasts four days before the administration has the students arrested by police.
Even after the arrests the campaign and its supported continued to draw attention to the cause of a living wage. Faculty members organized teach-ins focused on topics related to economic and social justice. Another rally is held and draws over 280 people, among the participants are Mark Lane and Barbara Ehrenreich.
A Student Council referendum calling for a living wage is passed, 77.5% of those students who voted supported a living wage. The referendum calls for a wage of $10.72/hour. The administration later announces a $0.49/hour increase to the University’s minimum wage which leaves it at $9.37 . The administration claims that the value of included health benefits offsets the difference but the campaign refutes this, claiming that their wage calculation takes benefit packages into consideration and that additional health benefits don’t make up for an inability to pay for basic needs.
The campaign releases the first version of their comprehensive research document “Keeping Our Promises” (KOP). Along with this a resolution for a living wage is crafted which over 1000 people and organizations sign on in support. Soon after the release of KOP the campaign began meeting with the Chief Operating Officer of the University, Leonard Sandridge.