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Vanderbilt Campaign Update!

Oct 19, 2005 - posted by Marion Coddou, marion.l.coddou(at)

Since its formation in 2002, Living Income for Vanderbilt Employees (LIVE) has been dedicated to research, education, outreach, and action in order to attain a living wage policy for all of Vanderbilt’s full time workers. November 2004 saw the mid-contract negotiations between LIUNA, the union representing about 600 of Vanderbilt’s employees, and the Vanderbilt administration. Through meetings with the two sides and well attended rallies, LIVE promoted an agreement to raise the base wage. In one rally, over two hundred protestors, including students, workers, faculty, local union officials, and community members, gathered around the Kirkland Hall offices of Chancellor Gordon Gee demanding compliance with the union’s requests. This wave of negotiations and action culminated in the first base wage increase in three years from $6.50 an hour to $7.55.

Since then, LIVE has continued to strengthen its relationship with the workers, keep contact with the union, and build a coalition of faculty, student organizations, and members of the Nashville community. The LWAC workshops and Georgetown’s documentary energized the campaign with new ideas and a renewed enthusiasm to pursue a number of possibilities. Current projects in the works include weekly worker appreciation events, coalition building, a journey to the USAS conference in Knoxville, weekly street theatre scenes, and an art show fundraiser in the spring featuring the art of workers, workers’ families, community members, and students on the subject of labor justice and empowerment.

End of contract negotiations begin in November 2006. By then, the administration will have heard in force, from the mouths of the workers, students, faculty, and staff that Vanderbilt wants a living wage now!


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