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Georgetown University

Washington, DC

Group name: Georgetown Solidarity Committee Website: www.georgetownsolidarity.org
Contact: Shalini Thomas Email: set9(at)georgetown.edu
Phone: 319-321-1857 Documentary on the campaign: Living Wage 101

Campaign background: A living wage campaign began at Georgetown in 2002. Students built relationships with campus workers and brought workers' concerns to administrators through a series of bureaucratic committees. Finally, in the spring of 2005, workers and students had waited long enough for administrators to pay living wages on their own timeline. The Living Wage Coalition set a deadline of March 14, 2005, for Georgetown to adopt a living wage policy. When administrators failed to act upon this deadline, 26 students begun a hunger strike while others organized massive rallies. After nine days, the administration finally gave in to almost all of workers' and students' demands! (Just like Wash U, Georgetown administrators refused to agree to card check neutrality.)

See the policy that workers and students won in March 2005 here. Some reflections about the hunger strike is here. As soon as the spotlight faded away after the hunger strike, administrators began breaking the promises they made to workers in the policy. On July 1, 2005, when all campus workers were supposed to begin receiving at least $13/hour, workers informed students they received only a tiny raise.

Janitors and security guards still don't make a living wage, and both have faced union-busting as the try to organize. In fall 2005, the Living Wage Coalition launched a second phase in their campaign, calling on Georgetown to require all contractors to protect campus workers' right to organize unions by any legal method (including the card check process). Georgetown administrators refused to tell all contractors to respect the right to organize through the entire school year. In spite of that, contracted campus janitors started publicly demanding the right to unionize with SEIU local 32BJ by card check. While janitors actively confronted their contractor, students supported with actions targetting Georgetown administrators and by getting 20 Congress members to send a letter to Georgetown's president urging him to force the janitors' contractor to respect the right to organize. Finally, by the end of the spring 2006 semester, janitors won a card check agreement, and soon after succesfully won recognition of their union. Currently, as of August 2006, the janitors are negotiating their very first union contract. If all goes well, they will finally win a real living wage and decent healthcare!

Students will work with the many other workers at Georgetown who are still denied real living wages and the right to organize.

» see various documents from Georgetown at Demands, proposals & policies

Campaigns News & Updates:

Feb 3, 2006 - Wage Protest Meets DPS Resistance - The Hoya

Feb 2, 2006 - Campaign for living wage rages - Georgetown Voice

Feb 1, 2006 - Georgetown Silences Workers’ Voices: Campus Police Impede Workers and Students from Entering Committee Meeting - posted by Ashwini Jaisingh of the GSC

Mar 25, 2005 - GU Protesters Savor Win -- and a Meal - Washington Post

Mar 21, 2005 - GU Activists Go Hungry To Help Janitors - Washington Post

 

Have something to add about this campaign? Please e-mail us at
lwac(at)livingwageaction.org

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