For Immediate Release: September 13, 2013
What: “The Low Down on Labor Rights:” A community forum on living wage campaigns and labor rights at the University of Mary Washington
Where: University of Mary Washington, 1301 College Avenue, Jepson Hall, Room 100
Fredericksburg, Va.—On, UMW students, professors, staff, and Fredericksburg community members will gather for a discussion about worker’s rights and labor issues at the University of Mary Washington.
The student organizers of the 2005-2006 Living Wage Campaign at UMW, including alumni Maggie Smith, Sylvia Sierra, Phil Arnone, and Jeff May, will return to campus to talk about their experiences. Current student Laura Gomez will also join the panel to discuss her undergraduate research on campus working conditions and employees’ access to health care.
“We know the University of Mary Washington is a venue for student learning and development, but it's often overlooked that the university is also a major employer for the surrounding Fredericksburg community,” said Virginia Organizing UMW Chapter leader Laura Gomez. “It’s important to treat all our UMW community members with respect and appreciation, and we believe this entails fair compensation and the highest quality work environment possible.”
According to the MIT Living Wage Calculator, a single adult with no kids needs to make $13.22 per hour to live in Fredericksburg and maintain a basic standard of living. However, average pay for cafeteria workers, groundskeepers, and housekeeping staff is well below a living wage. The forum will address why these disparities exist and what students have done in the past to address the inequity and include information on future actions.
Ray Scher, Virginia Organizing board member and local Fredericksburg Chapter leader, said the forum and the organizing in Fredericksburg is in line with the organization’s statement of beliefs.
“Virginia Organizing believes that every person in the Commonwealth is entitled to a living wage and benefit package that is sufficient to provide the basic necessities of lie, including adequate housing, a nutritious diet, proper child care, sound mental and physical health care, and a secure retirement,” said Scher.
Virginia Organizing is co-sponsoring this event with the Departments of Sociology and Anthropology, Geography, Women’s and Gender Studies at UMW.
To interview a spokesperson for this event, please contact Addie Alexander at firstname.lastname@example.org or 434-249-4058.
Virginia Organizing is a non-partisan statewide grassroots organization that brings people together to create a more just Virginia.