Raise the Standard for Notre Dame Workers

Raise the Standard for Notre Dame Workers

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Campus workers are a key part of the Notre Dame family, and we rely on them every day for the operation of our campus. The success of our University would not be possible without them. As students (present and former) of the University of Notre Dame, we ask the Notre Dame administration to embody its Catholic ethos as a leader in Catholic Social Teaching and create a just wage structure for its workers.


The University of Notre Dame prides itself on being a “force for good” in the world, yet we have forgotten to live up to that on our own campus. With Notre Dame as the largest employer, the overall poverty rate in South Bend is 23.6% – nearly double the national average. A large percentage of that poverty is concentrated among Black households, with a poverty rate of 32.7%. In a meeting last August with South Bend civil rights leaders and community activists, a self-organized group of Notre Dame professors working under the name “Justice ND” asked what Notre Dame could do to alleviate poverty and racism in the community. The local leaders replied simply and earnestly: “Pay your staff a living wage.” Current wages paid to many non-professional staff have not met the threshold of a living wage and do not uphold the dignity of the worker.


Students, particularly those from low-income backgrounds, also struggle with low wages from campus employment. Despite the university’s commitment to meet “all demonstrated financial need,” loans often constitute large portions of student aid packages and fail to consider the various other costs associated with campus life. As a result, low-income students find themselves working countless hours just to afford a visit home for break or a laptop for class. Their limited hours are forced to be spent working rather than investing in their studies or engaging with the campus community. It is little wonder why the percentage of low-income respondents who say they “strongly disagree” with a sense of belonging at Notre Dame is nearly triple that of all other income brackets. On a campus where all should be included, financial barriers force some to the sideline.

 

The Raising the Standard Campaign (RSC) has conducted thorough research and outreach with campus workers regarding current Notre Dame employee policies. Their recent proposal “Recommending Compensation and Labor Policies That Reduce Economic Hardship” is the amalgamation of these efforts, and outlines key reforms Notre Dame can implement to create a more just working environment and wage structure for its workers. You can view the RSC’s full report on their website here. It is the responsibility of the University of Notre Dame to act as a fair employer. Therefore, we demand the university review and implement these policies (creating a Notre Dame Just Wages and Fair Employment Board, increasing all minimum wages to $15 per hour, instituting a Cost of Living Adjustment, and enhancing current employee benefits).


If you stand with our campus workers, please sign and share this petition as widely as you can. If you would like to share your experience as a worker on campus or a personal letter of support, please contact the Raising the Standard Campaign directors Bridget Schippers (bschippe@nd.edu) and Edward Brunicardi (ebrunica@nd.edu). For more details on our research and proposal, see our website

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