ST. LOUIS — Washington University student workers and staff members have spent the past week fighting for $15 an hour by setting up a teach-in on the quad.
Supporters set up a tent village nicknamed “Martinville” after Chancellor-elect Andrew Martin, who they said refuses to put workers on a path for the $5-per-hour raise. The protesters said $10 an hour isn’t a livable wage, and their families are suffering as a result. The university said minimum wage is higher than $10 for all university employees.
The people camping out in the tent city are living there, teaching classes from there and rallying support on campus. An organized rally is set for 1 p.m. Monday at Brookings Quad.
As the fifth-largest employer in the state and with an $8.5 billion endowment, the protesters feel there’s enough resources for everyone to live comfortably.
Student organizers said the proposal affects more than 1,000 university employees. The student senate backs the pay increase.
Washington University released this statement:
"Washington University strives to be an employer of choice in the St. Louis region. Our minimum wage for direct and contract employees is well above the state and federal mandate and is toward the top in the region. The university also provides a benefits package that strives to anticipate the broadest needs of our employees, especially employees with families who have to juggle the pressures of work and home. Nonetheless, we always are considering additional ways to support our employees. Several members of the university leadership have met with Fight for $15 leaders to listen to their concerns and understand their perspective. In each of those conversations, including with Chancellor-elect Martin directly, administrators have shared that there is a process underway to develop an issue brief that includes an analysis of options. When that process is complete, the chancellor-elect will discuss the options with a variety of stakeholders. After that, a decision will be made and shared with the university community."
This summer, Duke University will increase its minimum wage to $15 per hour.