So you work for a billion-dollar university that pinches pennies when it comes to your paycheck. What are you gonna do? This just in from Vanderbilt Community Alliance:
"On Friday, January 26th, at 4:15 p.m. on the Library Lawn of Vanderbilt University, workers, students, community and faith supporters will gather together in a candlelight vigil to ask for a living wage for Vanderbilt workers. The group will then proceed to the steps of the Kirkland Administration where prominent community activists and faith leaders will speak to the assembled group. The event is sponsored by the Vanderbilt Student group, LIVE-Living Income for Vanderbilt Employees, and the Vanderbilt Community Alliance.
"Says Reverend David Shivers, a member of the Vanderbilt Community Alliance, 'we are gathering today to ask Vanderbilt University to show its workers some dignity and respect by paying a living wage.' Even after a decade of service to the Vanderbilt University, many workers still make less than $10/hour. Frequently, entire families, mostly African American, are caught in cycles of generational poverty working for Vanderbilt.
"Bobby Childress, a groundskeeper for the university, couldn't agree more. 'I work out here in the cold, keeping this University beautiful. But nice words and a pat on the back don't help to support my family.' In fact, it is often the hardest, least recognized jobs—groundskeepers, housekeepers, food service workers, events workers, and custodians—which are filled mostly by minority workers at Vanderbilt. These workers are often paid an entry level wage of $7.55-$7.92/hour to work in the cold, to maintain the buildings and the grounds, and to feed the students, staff, and faculty.
"In a university where tuition is $42,000 per year, the Vanderbilt Community Alliance and LIVE strongly urge the Vanderbilt University Administration to help lift its employees out of poverty. Continues Reverend Shivers, 'if Gordon Gee, the Chancellor, makes $1.3 million a year—one of the highest paid chancellors in the U.S.—it is only fair that Vanderbilt's lowest paid workers be treated with dignity and respect, and be paid a living wage.' "