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Living wage on the biggest campus in the US!
Jan 31, 2005

On January 27-29 Pedro, Maya, and I flew in to Phoenix, Arizona for three days of workshops and fun at Arizona State University in nearby Tempe, AZ. The Living Wage Coalition at ASU is focusing on their university's huge foodservice contract, which currently is with Sodexho Foodservices. The contract is going to be renogatiated by the Fall of this year, and students will pressure administrators to guarantee a living wage and the right to organize for the next foodservice contract. The way the contract works, ASU can set both the prices of food and the wages of foodservice employees, so the Living Wage Coalition intends for the contractor to absorb the cost, not students. The contractor should be able to handle it, since this contract is roughly worth $14 million.

Since all three facilitators were from Georgetown, on Friday night we watched the documentary from the Georgetown hunger strike and told the story of that campaign. Then, throughout Saturday and Sunday, the group of ASU students gradually hashed out a strategy for this semester. They'll begin buidling relationships with workers right away, and start building support on campus and in the wider Phoenix community.

This campaign may end up being extremely important: If the Living Wage Coalition at ASU wins and sets the precedent of living wage language in this massive contract at the most massive school in the country, there would be serious repercussions across Arizona and beyond! Keep an eye on this campaign!

- Jack

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