Poverty in Charlottesville is a staggering 27% - 3 times as high as the rest of Virginia. The University is the largest employer in the City of Charlottesville. Many full-time employees work second and third jobs, and have earned "entry-level" wages for decades. Furthermore, the "plantation," as many Charlottesville residents still call the University, employs a disproportionate number of Women and People of Color at the low end of the wage scale.
A Living Wage for Charlottesville is calculated by the nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute to be $13/hr + benefits for a family of four to survive - and this wage must be indexed to cost-of-living and inflation. The University claims its pay is competitive and its benefits are great - but you can't eat a course or pay rent with a parking benefit! And certainly UVA has the resources - our endowment is nearly $5 billion and our operating budget is $2.4 billion. Paying a living wage for direct and contacted workers would be a fraction of one percent of all the cash UVA is sitting on. President Sullivan wrote a textbook, The Social Organization of Work, in which she says on page 63 "Being paid a living wage is necessary for one's self-actualization." We must prioritize our workers. We must pay what they deserve as human beings - enough to live on.
As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said: "There is nothing new about poverty. What is new is that we now have the techniques and the resources to get rid of poverty. The real question is whether we have the will."
How can President Sullivan ignore her own research? She claims to be "committed" to increasing the pay of the lowest paid workers. She claims UVA is a "Caring Community." Aramark Dining Services claims "Workers Are Wahoos Too." And yet "wage progress" has stagnated. We are a Community of Honor. We must Keep Our Promises.
Help us tell President Sullivan and the Board of Visitors to stop making excuses and pay employees, direct and contract, a Living Wage of $13 + benefits.
Full Demands and Campaign Info Here: http://www.livingwageatuva.org/
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