Victory for UVA hunger strikers

As a former student organizer, I’ve been keeping a close eye on the University of Virginia, where 12 students (including a UVA football player) were on hunger strike to advocate for a living wage for campus workers—who all too often face bottom-of-the-barrel wages and benefits. The hunger-striking students received an outpouring of solidarity across the country and after 13 days of fasting, the university finally agreed to take steps toward a living wage for its employees.

In a statement issued on March 1, the students involved in the campaign announced that UVA has agreed to take a close look at its labor practices and review compensation for its lowest-paid employees. What’s more, the campaign has called national attention to an issue that has been largely ignored in recent years, despite the fact that paying dedicated campus workers poverty wages runs afoul of the ethical standards most universities and colleges project to the public.

However, as the students remind us, this victory is only the beginning:

Today, after 13 days, we announce the end of the hunger strike. But let us be very clear: this is the end of this strike, but it is not the end of the struggle. We are energized, we are organized, and we remain, as we have been for the past 13 days, and the past 14 years, hungry but hopeful for justice and a living wage here at the University of Virginia.

Their commitment to economic justice is an inspiration to all workers’ rights supporters, and a testament to the power of collective action.

Photo courtesy of Living Wage at UVA.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 6th, 2012 at 1:04 pm and is filed under General, Jobs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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